Natural nesting material

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Shirley Hardy
Shirley Hardy's picture
Natural nesting material

What constitues as natural nesting material? Anything that isn't manmade, right? What about human hair? I guess that could be considered "natural" as we are all animals in a way (no insults intended) and birds do collect fur from animals for their nests, so why not human hair too?

I'm trying to come up with a more natural list of nesting material to put out during their breeding seasons so they don't start pulling apart manmade items. 

There's probably a lot of things we humans could all add as temporary decorations for the birds to find to add to their nests. Below is a list of the things I can come up with:

  • Feathers collected throughout the entire year (ALL birds use feathers in their nests if they nest in trees, right?).
  • Coconut fibre (every year I put out my unused hanging backet, with or without a plant in it, and every year the Australian Magpie male pulls it apart for nesting material.)
  • Human hair cut and left laying on the ground outside.
  • Long, thin strands of vine or reeds (Red Wattlebirds will more than likely choose this material over your favourite rug that happens to be hanging on the clothesline at the time).
  • Long strands of grass cuttings - longer than 20cm and with seed developing at the top (the top parts of grass that develope the seeds). 
  • Sticks and twigs - just leave them laying around the place as long as they are not too thick in diameter.
  • Coloured snail shells 
  • Moss or lichen

Unfortunately very little of these things are available in my area at any given time of the year, except for stick, twigs, moss, lichen and long strands of lovegrass. Whenever I find a bird kill on the side of the road where only feathers remain I collect every single feather and take it home. Around Spring of each year I start putting those feathers outside for birds to use in their nests with the exception of the really large feathers. I'll either put a rock on the feathers so they don't blow away and put them where I know birds hang out, or just not care and let them blow away if there's a lot of feathers.  

Can anyone else add to my list of natural nesting material?

Edit: Why was this post was created? To help prevent this : (Linked here with Owl of Kedumba's approval.) Please check the post out.

GregL's picture

Every spring mistletoe birds come to my garden to collect fluff off the leaves of Stachys lanata, lamb's ear. Must make a very soft nest lining. I often see birds robbing material from old bird's nests, I guess that's recycling.

Night Parrot
Night Parrot's picture

I have seen Lewin honeyeaters make good use of use short pieces of wool (about 10cm in length). Not hard to cut up a few lengths and leave them in a little pile. Wool is probably good because it doesn't hold water like some materials.

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