Saturday, October 4, 2008

Nest Building

My family's list of things to do this weekend includes apple picking, ordering a new shower fixture, going to the Green Bay Packers game (my husband) and assembling this next building kit for some fortunate birds in our neighborhood (while my husband is in Green Bay).

I found this great activity on Wondertime magazine's website and knew that my bird-loving children would be interested right away. And to get your children interested, I suggest reading No Roses For Harry! by Gene Zion and Margaret Bloy Graham about a dog who never imagined his discarded sweater would end up in a bird's nest.

For most birds, nest-building supplies consist of whatever nature has lying around — wood, grass, twigs, feathers, and fur. But you can provide the birds in your neighborhood with easy-to-obtain nest fodder by stuffng a mesh onion bag with materials such as pet fur, strands of cloth, bits of stuffing, hay, yarn cut into short lengths, hair from your brush, or feathers from an old down pillow. (Avoid anything synthetic or sharp.) Snip a few large holes in the sack so birds can poke around, then hang it in a tree, ideally near a feeder so it will get noticed.

In the coming weeks, be on the lookout for birds visiting the sack, then watch what trees they return to — from the right viewpoint, you might even get to see your building materials being incorporated into the birds' nests.

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