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Nesting Materials - What birds Use to Make Nests

What is Naturally Used as Nesting Materials?

Most birds use some kind of nesting material to hold their eggs and nestlings. Different species of birds use different materials to make their nests.

Bluebirds often use grass and pine needles while wood ducks do not even bring nesting materials into the birdhouse. Birds can often be identified based on the composition of their nest.

The chickadee to the right used moss, grass and small twigs to line its nest.

Chickadee hatchlings / Baby Birds Picture taken by Lisa Hicks -
Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) nesting taken by Lisa Hicks

Helping Birds Nest

Face Birdhouses East
The robin (Turdus migratorius) nest seen here is composed mainly of grass
Un-raked leaves and twigs left in a corner of the yard can provide a variety of material for birds to use when they are building their nests in the spring. Any of the materials below can be added to a concentrated area of a yard to make it more attractive for birds to nest in your yard.
  • Yarn cut in small pieces
  • Human or Horse Hair
  • Feathers
  • Grass
  • Small twigs
  • Leaves
  • Sheep's wool
  • Feathers
  • Cattail
  • Moss
  • Bark strips
  • Pine Needles
  • Cotton
Some other materials that birds use are snake skins, cellophane, spider silk and aluminum foil. Refrain from using dryer lint as laundry detergent and fabric softeners may leave unwanted residues that can be harmful to the birds.

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Bird Resources and Information
Birdhouse Measurements

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