Birds – Nice Nests (Weekly Unplugged Project)

By , April 27, 2008 9:10 pm


My two oldest each had lengthy birthday parties to attend this afternoon. So although I had an art project in mind when I chose birds as this week’s Unplugged Project theme, my children’s busy social calendars precluded anything too complicated.

Instead of art this week, we decided to do something I was meaning to do anyhow: put out some nice spring nesting materials.

While most people know that putting out food and water for wild birds is a great way to attract them to your yard, another often overlooked additional method is to provide nesting materials in the spring. As long as you have some good nesting locations (requirements vary by type of bird), giving them handy materials can encourage them to nest in your yard where you can watch the action for several months.

All you’ll need are some empty suet feeder cages, or a few of those nets used to package oranges or potatoes in bulk. We used a big net from some oranges and a few small Baby Bel cheese nets.

We have some high class, five star nesting material: leftover alpaca fleece from Dempsey, an alpaca at our local alpaca ranch.


If you don’t happen to have a local alpaca ranch or any spare alpaca fleece lying around your house, you can also try putting out any of the following:

-dried leaves and twigs
-human or horse hair
-pet fur, sheep’s wool
-dry grass
-plant fluff (ie. cattail fluff)
-yarn or string (cut into 4″ to 8″ pieces)
-thin strips of cloth (1″ x 6″)
-cotton batting
-bark strips
-pine needles
-shredded paper

But don’t put out drier lint (stays soggy, dries hard, can contain chemicals from laundering).

You can prepare the household materials together, or go on a nature hike to collect suitable natural materials.

Place the materials in the nets or cages and hang them around your garden on trees, or deck railings. You can also push loose material into tree crevices or between rocks, and drape yarn and string over bushes. Heavier items that won’t blow away, like twigs, can be put out in small piles around your yard.

Then simply sit back and watch to see if there is any interest in your spring gifts!

For more about this (and my source for much of this information), please see: Attracting Birds With Nesting Material from the fascinating Cornell Lab of Ornithology website.


If you participated in the birds project this week, please put your link in Mr. Linky below (also be sure to leave a comment in case Mr. Linky malfunctions).


Next week’s Unplugged Project theme will be:


Please join us!


13 Responses to “Birds – Nice Nests (Weekly Unplugged Project)”

  1. ToddleBits says:

    What a great idea! Although I would still like to see what you had in mind for the art project…perhaps another day? I’m glad you included the information about dryer lint. I had always heard that it was a good material to use for nests, but you’ve provided some great alternatives. Thanks!

  2. Putting out nesting materials was a thoughtful idea. We didn’t make an art project either but we did a lot of bird related activities, most importantly we got 6 baby chickens.

  3. Pam says:

    These are such neat ideas. Thanks for doing the unplugged projects for us!

  4. Bethany says:

    I’m so excited to have found your site!

  5. warillever says:

    We have plenty of birds’ nests around our house; we just can’t seem to get a glimpse of any of the residents!

    Our “project” this week was to read about birds in Russian. Just a simple picture book, but it turned out to be quite fun.

  6. Kate in NJ says:

    Princess and I are in! We do nest prep bags in our yard too.

  7. Oooo — we are totally going to do the nesting materials for birds. So fun! The girls were feeling crafty, so we made toilet paper tube birds. Fun! See you next week!

  8. Heather says:

    Oh I love the nesting ideas. I just wish that we did not live in an apartment. The landlord would not let us hang things outside. I will have to keep it in mind for when we have a house.

  9. Melissa says:

    What a great idea! This is definitely something we’ll try.

  10. Jenny says:

    I haven’t done this in years! And I happen to have a pair of kitties who shed like mad. Thanks for the reminder!

  11. […] Unplug Your Kids, a blog with a Weekly Unplugged Project, such as her most recent suggestions for assisting birds with their springtime nest-building. […]

  12. […] Make a Spring Bird Goody Bag and stuff it with nesting material. […]

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