Providing Nesting Materials for Birds

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Nesting Materials for Birds

Want lots of birds to take up residence in your yard? Provide nesting materials for them, so they have a reason to stay close by. Every spring the kids and I fill up several suet cages with appropriate nesting materials, stuff like leftover yarn and string. Then, we hang the suet cages around the yard for the birds to find. It’s exciting to watch birds coming and going from the cages with building materials for their nests, and we usually have to refill them several times each season just to keep up with demand.

Suet cages don’t cost very much, and you can often find them at yard sales for around a quarter. I’ve been slowly building out my collection this way.

Suet Cage Full of Yarn

Good Nesting Materials for Birds

You probably have lots of things around the house that would make good nesting materials for birds. Some things to include in your suet cage(s):

  • Yarn or string, cut in 4-6″ length. Natural fibers are best, since they’re biodegradable
  • Fabric scraps, cut to 1″ thick and no more than 6″ long
  • Cotton batting
  • Hair from humans or pets (but only hair that hasn’t been treated with chemicals)
  • Feathers (if you have chickens, save their feathers when they molt)
  • Small twigs and pine needles

Suet Cage with Nesting Materials

Bad Nesting Materials for Birds

To protect birds from injury and predators, don’t include these materials in your suet cages:

  • Brightly-colored yarn or fabric. This may make for pretty nests, but it will also make for nests that stand out to predators
  • Dryer lint. The Humane Society says it crumbles and may contain harmful detergent or fabric softener residues
  • Yard debris that has been treated with pesticides or other chemicals
  • Plastic and other non-biodegradable items. They could pose a hazard to the birds, and will eventually turn into litter
  • Fishing line, dental floss or other synthetic strings The birds could become tangled in them

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