Offering Nesting Material

Anna's Hummingbird by Skip Russell

Animal and plant fibers make excellent nesting material for our backyard birds.  Unlike dryer lint, these natural fibers repel water.  Having a dry nest is not just about being cozy, it’s about survival when it comes to naked nestlings. Here in the Pacific Northwest spring dishes up days that closely resemble winter — offering natural nesting materials will help your birds nest successfully.

There are endless ways of offering nesting material to your birds.  You can use decorative cages designed for that purpose, a clean suet cage or simply push fibers into a hair brush or in to a thicket of branches. Be creative! Try one or more ways –the bigger your display of nesting material, the more likely your backyard birds will notice it.

If you’re not feeling creative and simply want to get going, we have everything you need at Backyard Bird Shop. Our locally-sourced pygora goat fleece comes in a ready-to-hang bag, simply fluff up the fibers and put it out for your birds. We also have a plant-based nesting material that comes in an attractive red cage complete with its own hanger or simply pick up a refill package.

We recommend placing your nesting material close to a window for easy viewing and ideally, a window that has branches nearby. Branches give your birds a known landing port before coming in to investigate your nesting material station.

Nest-building peaks from April through June, however hummingbirds begin nesting in early February.  Establish your station as early as mid-January and leave it up through June.

Don’t be discouraged if your activity is low the first season. Birds don’t require a lot and may have taken nesting material when you weren’t watching. It can also take time for birds to discover your nesting material. Being consistent will pay off!

The dose of cheer that comes from watching a bird load its bill with nesting material goes unmatched. It’s both comical and endearing.  How thrilling to take a part in nesting season this way! I wouldn’t miss it for anything.

By, Darlene Betat