With early spring thaws, flocks of finches arrive at the feeders. The males are particularly noticeable in their red breeding plumage at the head, breast, and rump.
Their arrival is a sure sign that spring’s on the way and nesting season is at hand. We provide birdhouses and nest boxes at various locations around the yard. But at this time of year, we also supply a little more help in the home improvement department.
The National Audubon Society recommends setting out supplemental materials to assist birds in their nest building. Short lengths of yarn and string work well, as does pet hair and cotton. Sphagnum moss and twigs are good to include too. Recommended materials from other bird watching authorities include small pieces of soft cloth, stuffing from old furniture, short pieces of raffia, and dried grass.
Just bundle up these materials in a plastic netting bag, like the ones used to package fruit or onions, and hang the bag in a location easily seen by birds.
So if you knit all winter long, save those bits of yarn in a basket for spring nesting season and help out your backyard feathered friends. Or think of them next time you’re brushing handfuls of hair from your golden retriever’s furry back end. Works for you. Works for the dog. Works for the birds.
text and photos by Ann D. Travers