I know we bird lovers are watching the birds now that some signs of Spring are in the air. We are seeing their colors changing into breeding colors, acrobatic flight patterns, their calls turning to songs. So many of us are dying to help by putting out nesting materials to make life easier for our friends and allow us to watch their preparations for nesting. My usual approach is to scout around the house to find yarn and hair and dryer lint to put out in mesh bags BUT WAIT! If you happen to see an article about safe nesting materials, you will have to change your whole plan, like I did. I found on the DON’T list all the things I was going to supply. What’s this? So off I went to research and get other opinions. This is what I found:
DON’T LISTDO LIST Dryer lint (chemicals) Straw, hay Pet hair (chemicals) Twigs, grass Human hair (chemicals) Mud Craft scraps (chemicals) Bark strips Yarn, thread, ribbon (same) Shredded leaves Bright colors( attract predators) Small pebbles Tinsel, plastic strips ( strangulation) Pine needles Cellophane (toxic) Sheep/alpaca wool Untreated natural fibers that are only 2-3” long
Do you see a pattern? No synthetics or fibers with chemicals, even hair with shampoo build- up or pet hair with flea treatment or lint from clothes with dyes and other substances that can be toxic to young birds. Long pieces of yarn or thread can get tangled around baby birds and injure or kill them. Provide natural materials that birds would find in their own searches. These safe nesting supplies can be set out in open baskets, suet cages, tree crevices, or piles on the ground.
So, reframe your thinking about providing for our nesting neighbors. I certainly have to start from scratch with a whole new plan. How about you?