Finally a Use for Your Pet’s Shedded Fur!

It is spring and the birds in my yard are either sitting on a clutch of eggs or are in the process of building their nests. A fun way to help and interact with the birds in your neighborhood is to provide nesting materials for them. In the past, I thought any kind of yarn or thread would do, but after some research I found that some materials they can get entangled in (such as long pieces of human hair, thread or yarn) , choke (think dryer lint) or can attract predators (think colored yarn).

Here is a list of biodegradable, safe nesting materials you can supply for your wild birds. Put the materials close to a feeder (or somewhere they easily can spot it) and up high enough to avoid predators. You can get creative and make a simple holder to hang at eye level. It’s fun to watch them pick up your offerings and fly away.

Bird Nest Building Supplies

  • Twigs or sticks
  • Dead leaves.
  • Grass clippings or dead grass.
  • Natural fibers:Yarn, string or thread in short lengths.
  • animal fur.
  • Feathers.
  • Cattail fluff.
  • Moss or lichen.

Three days ago I left out nesting offering on basket. This consisted of pine needles, bits of straw, twigs and pet fur I had brushed out of my dog and cat. In a matter of 3 days the clump of pet fur is almost gone and the other materials hardly touched. It makes sense- wouldn’t you want a soft and fluffy nest too? The biggest delight was the morning after I left the materials, when I opened the front door there was a chickadee on the edge of the basket with a beak crammed full of fur. I had made that momma bird’s day!

If you want to be known as a popular spot for luxury nesting materials, use that discarded fur your pets leave around the house, or just brush them for a supply. They will appreciate that. No pets? I’m sure you friends and neighbors will supply you with plenty on request!

image courtesy National Wildlife Federation

Nests around my home, Artwork by the author

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