Sunday, May 25, 2014

Cornell Lab Of Ornithology Not a pet? Squirrels and birds nesting questions?

Question by clc6583: Not a pet? Squirrels and birds nesting questions?
I love the birds and squirrels in my yard, the squirrels are so much fun to watch and are quite friendly too.

I want to do nice things for them for entertaining me since I can’t have pets – has anyone provided bedding material for birds and squirrels before? I have a huge bag of dryer lint I was saving for this purpose, but can’t really bring myself to set it out there for them. What about yarn? Do you think birds would take yarn/string if I set it out for them? Am I starting too early, should I wait until later in the spring?

Has anyone done this before?

Best answer:

Answer by margecutter
I often provide nesting material for my outdoor feathered friends.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology suggests:

Ideally you should provide nest material naturally by leaving or creating wild, natural areas on your property (perhaps hidden from your neighbor’s view) where plants can grow into thickets, and leaves and twigs can fall and not be raked up immediately. This untidy debris gives a variety of material for the birds to pick through when they are building nests. They may even pick through your compost pile looking for suitable nest material.

Alternatively, you can put out concentrated stashes of nest material. It can be natural materials like straw, small sticks, and twigs, or manmade materials such as yarn and string. Try putting out any combination of the following:

Dead twigs
Dead leaves
Dry grass
Yarn or string—cut into 4- to 8-inch pieces
Human or animal hair (especially horse hair)
Fur (e.g. dog or cat fur)
Sheep’s wool
Plant fluff or down (e.g. cattail fluff, cottonwood down)
Kapok, cotton batting, or other stuffing material
Bark strips
Pine needles
Thin strips of cloth, about 1 inch wide by 6 inches long
Shredded paper

Among the strange materials birds occasionally use in their nests are snake skins, plastic strips, cellophane, and aluminum foil. Many small birds use spider webs to glue nest material together. Swallows, phoebes, and American Robins use mud to construct their nests. You might consider creating or keeping a muddy puddle in your garden for them.

What about dryer lint? Some people include this as suitable bird nesting material. Others recommend against it because it is porous and dries out poorly if it’s rained on in the nest. Still others warn that wet dryer lint dries into a hard mass, providing poor nest insulation, however this may happen only if it contains laundry detergent or fabric softener residue. More information is needed before we can recommend offering dryer lint.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

Tags:Birds, Cornell, nesting, Ornithology, questions, squirrels


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