How to Attract Birds to Your Yard with Nesting Material
By: Julie Day
Birds naturally build their nests on the best real estate, so any bird-friendly yard is likely to have an increase in activity come nesting time. If you enjoy helping the birds in your yard, try putting out some nesting material in the early spring for them to use.
You can buy packages of nesting material for birds, or better yet, make your own nesting material “ornaments” or baskets. Here’s how to supply nesting material safely to the birds in your yard.
What to Use for Bird Nesting Materials
Most common, cup-shaped bird nests are made primarily of woven grass and twigs, with a softer lining to keep the eggs and babies warm. Cavity nesting birds, such as woodpeckers, also look for soft materials to line their nests.
Some of the best nesting materials to supply to birds are:
- Moss: Sphagnum or Spanish moss make great bird nesting materials.
What Not to Use for Bird Nesting Materials
Items to avoid for bird nesting materials include:
- Synthetic String: Never provide fishing line or nylon twine as bird nesting material, since it can cause deadly tangles.
How to Put Out Bird Nesting Materials
Ways to provide nesting materials to birds in your yard include:
- Hanging Ornaments: If you prefer a less messy approach, stuff an empty wire suet bird feeder cage with nesting material and hang it from a tree or fence post. You can also use natural mesh bags, or make your own hangers out of wire. Nesting material ornaments can be artistic and make great gifts for the bird lovers in your life!
In Shrubs and Trees: You can also spread bird nesting materials on top of shrubs, in tree crevices, or in baskets.
Other ways to make your yard more nest-friendly include:
- Leave grass clippings on your lawn.
- Avoid using chemicals on your lawn, garden, or house.
- Leave some areas of your yard “natural,” with plenty of hiding places and fallen debris for nest building, and natural populations of insects and spiders. Some birds like to use mud and spider webs to plaster their nests.
- Landscaping Tips for a Bird-Friendly Yard (article)
- Attracting Nesting Birds (National Wildlife Federation)
- Attracting Wild Birds with Nest Material (shawcreekbirdsupply.com)
- Plants in Your Garden that Produce Seed for Birds (article)
- Wild Bird Feeding Basics (article)
- How to Clean and Maintain a Birdbath in Your Yard (video)
- How to Attract Woodpeckers to Your Yard (article)
- How to Make a Bird Seed Wreath (article)