From the Archives: Nesting Material Dispenser for Spring Birding

This post was originally published in 2011, we’ve recreated it every year since. Enjoy scouting for colorful nests the birds have made with your materials!  -Regina @ ChalkinMyPocket


Some of the most spoiled birds in the northeast live right in my backyard. During the past few months we’ve faithfully provided gourmet food , braving ice and snow to access the feeding station. Claire spends hours snug in her pajamas gazing out the living room window laughing at the antics of the tree clinging nuthatches and the clever tufted titmouse. You’d be hard pressed to find happier more loved birds.


Today, we are welcoming spring with homemade nesting material dispensers! I hope this will entice the birds to stick around through our gardening season eating bugs and laying eggs (hopefully where we can watch the chicks hatch).

A special thanks to Aleacia for pointing out a great literature tie in for this activity. The Best Nest is a great little book by P.D. Eastman…you might just know one of his buddies, Theodor Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss). It’s all about a bird couple and the pursuit of a the perfect place to live. Hopefully, this little project will help our local feathered friends build just the right place for their own eggs. 


Gather an assortment of nesting materials. Yarn, string, hair clippings, dried grass, ribbon, and cotton batting are all appropriate. The experts over at Cornell Ornithology Lab have a pretty exhaustive list of nesting materials and additional tips for attracting birds.

It’s important that each strip is no longer than 4” otherwise the birds might get tangled up. We used a bunch of leftover pink yarn from our yarn heart valentine project, I can’t wait to see the festive pink colors woven into a nest!


A mesh bag an unused suet feeder would be the perfect receptacle for the nesting material. I used an old onion bag that I had on hand (the next one I have is going towards TinkerLab’s cardboard sewing frame). Tease some strands through the holes and hang it up in a place birds frequent. I put mine right on our feeder station and we’ve been stalking it all day waiting to see who might grab a piece of yarn or ribbon. Claire also draped bits of yarn all over our bushes, it’s quite festive looking out there!


We’ve got our fingers crossed for lots of multicolored nests this spring! And check out the cool DIY feeder using recyclables over at Green Kids Crafts – too cute!

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