I saw these cute nesting balls over at birdsandblooms.com and decided they would be perfect for my yard. My Mom used to put scraps of sewing fabric on the bushes outside and later we would see them woven into the bird nests. Even now at 88 years old, she still enjoys feeding the birds and putting out fabric scraps and string for them. I decided these would also make a perfect Easter gift for her.
You know, these would be great crafts for the kids during spring break!
Providing safe and suitable nesting material to wild nesting birds will help draw them to your yard and give you a better opportunity to see bird nesting behaviors. You may be able to view the entire cycle of life including courtship behavior, nest building, and raising their young.
These decorative balls are so simple to make. Grapevine balls can be purchased at most craft stores and are inexpensive, usually about $4.00 to $6.00 depending on the size. You can fill them with so many things. This list is of wild bird nesting materials is from birding.about.com.
- Twigs or sticks
- Dead leaves
- Grass clippings or dead grass
- Yarn, string or thread
- Human hair or animal fur
- Cattail fluff
- Moss or lichen
- Pine needles
- Pebbles or small rocks
- Spider web silk
- Straw or other plant stems
- Dental floss
- Shredded paper
- Broom bristles or mop string
- Cotton balls
I decided to use what I had...some scraps of fabric left from making rag rugs, a few mop stings, and some cotton.
But bird safety first...do not use anything that has been treated with pesticides, fertilizers or other potentially toxic chemicals. Some things to avoid include:
- Pet hair if the pet has been treated with flea treatments
- Grass clippings after insecticides or repellents has been applied
- Heavily dyed paper
- Clothes dryer lint if fabric softer was used.
Also do not use any plastic or nylon material (fishing line) which can be deadly.
Cut the nesting material into 3-8 inch segments. Shorter pieces will not be as attractive to birds and longer lengths could strangle both adults and nestlings or cause other injuries.
And finally, try to place the nesting materials somewhere where it will stay fairly dry but still visible to the birds.
What you will need:
- Grapevine ball(s)
- Raffia or twine
- Pencil, chopstick, or other "poking" item
- Nesting materials
- Remove any tags from the grapevine balls. Be sure to cut away any plastic tag loops.
- Using your fingers or poking device, push nesting materials into the ball. Let some of it hang out from the openings.
- Finish by tying a piece of raffia or twine to the top for hanging