Thursday, March 22, 2012

(Avian) Love Is In The Air

The last two days on Prince Edward Island have been completely, abnormally, climate-changingly, delightfully warm.  And both yesterday morning and this morning, as I stepped outside, not only was I amazed by the unseasonably warm weather, my ears were filled with the sound of bird song.  Robins, grackles, chickadees, blue jays, trilling and squeaking and whistling and chirping.  Singing the songs of love.

So as we wait, here on PEI, where we can't plant cold-weather plants until May and everything else must wait until June, James and I started a backyard project of a different kind.  We gathered together some nest-building material for the birds as they embark on a new season of courtship, nest construction, egg laying, and chick raising.

I've seen a few websites and blogs suggesting this idea to backyard birding enthusiasts.  And I'm always looking for things to do with James while Susannah is napping, so I thought this would be a great, quick little project.

Some people build (very cute) nesting material pouches made of wire but I wanted to use something that I already had in the house and wouldn't have to buy supplies for.  So I followed the example of some other websites, such as this one and used an empty mesh onion bag.

You can enhance the leaves and twigs and other nesting materials available outside by putting the following items in the bag:

  • human and pet hair (dog, cat, horse, etc.)
  • cotton balls that have been teased apart
  • thin strips of cotton fabric
  • broom bristles or mop string
  • shredded paper
  • string or thread
  • feathers
  • moss/lichens
  • cattail fluff
  • pine needles
However, dryer lint should be avoided.

I used the following:

Cotton balls, strips of cotton fabric leftover from my mom's quilting project, strips of an old, soft, cotton facecloth, and hair that I stole from my sister's brush!  It seems to be in short supply at our house! :P

James putting the facecloth strips in the onion bag.

Teasing apart the cotton balls so that it's easier for the birds to grab little bits.

We used the blue yarn to "sew" up the edges of the hole that I had cut originally to take the onions out.  I lifted him up and he hung it on a little twig in a horse chestnut tree in our backyard.

The finished product.  Now to get some birds along to use some of it! 

What kinds of spring activities are you doing with your children to get them outside, use up items already in your home, or enhance backyard habitats?


  1. I still can't believe that you pilfered from my hairbrush - haha! I hope that birds take advantage of James' hard work - he is so cute!


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