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For the Birds: Nesting How-To

For the Birds: Nesting How-To

It is such a joy to watch birds flitting back and forth with strands of nesting material in their beaks—especially if you donated them. Birds use so much energy building their nests that giving them a variety of materials is actually very helpful, and it can be a lot of fun. One year we placed my young son’s silky cut curls outside, and he was thrilled to point and tell his friends, “Look! See that shining in the nest? That’s my hair!”

In this busy nesting season, you can leave offerings out for the birds in your neighborhood. Here are some materials they prefer:

1. Hair—both human and animal. (When we brush the cats, we end up with lovely puffs of fur to put out. You can also comb out the hairs left in your own hairbrushes to use. Or donate clippings from your hair trims.)

2. Thread, yarn, raffia, or string cut into 4-inch lengths.

3. Strips of cotton fabric, about 1 inch wide and 6 inches long.

4. Dryer lint (as long as you didn’t use chemical fabric softener sheets!).

5. Spanish moss.

6. Feathers.

7. Long dry grasses or dried leaves from iris, tulips or daffodils.

Place these materials in small piles around the yard. If it’s windy, you could put them in a net bag and hang them from a tree branch, with bits sticking out through the holes for easy grasping.

Read more: Nature, Nature & Wildlife, Outdoor Activities

By Cait Johnson, co-author of Celebrating the Great Mother (Inner Traditions, 1995).

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Cait Johnson

Cait Johnson, MFA, is the author of six books, including Earth, Water, Fire, and Air: Essential Ways of Connecting to Spirit, Witch in the Kitchen, Celebrating the Great Mother and Tarot Games. She has been a counselor for more than 20 years, and teaches workshops on seasonal elemental approaches to self-healing, conscious eating, and soul-nurturing creativity.

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Celebrating the Great Mother

A handbook of earth-honoring activities for parents and now


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10:30AM PST on Jan 24, 2014

Thank You. Nice Article.

11:37AM PDT on Apr 26, 2013

Thanks Cait.

5:02AM PDT on Mar 20, 2013

Interesting, always fascinating what versatile materials ends up in a birds nest.

4:38AM PST on Mar 2, 2013

Lovely thanks. Never new my long locks could come in so handy.

4:12AM PST on Feb 13, 2013


10:01AM PST on Dec 7, 2012

Thank you Cait, for Sharing this!

11:02AM PDT on May 23, 2012

Thanks, Cait for all the info.

1:31AM PDT on Oct 27, 2011

I love watching the birds in the garden.
Thank you

2:25AM PST on Dec 14, 2010


2:24AM PST on Dec 14, 2010

the birds love the straw too.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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Noted and signed. Thanks for sharing.


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