nest making

 We have a small collection of nests that have fallen from trees in our yard. We love to observe and learn what the birds used to build their nests.

We found this one on the floor of our apple orchard buried in the sycamore leaves-

Our crazy dog tore up her toy and left the stuffing behind……a happy little bird picked up the remains! Here’s a better view of the nest. Fluff, pine needles, and grass-

grass and thin plastic-

mud and grass-

This is from the sparrow’s nest that fell from the eve of our house, fluff, husky hair, grass, and seeds-

Today we set up a nesting station for our bird friends. We used our wicker plant hangers, filled them full of nesting material, and hung them from our tree. One basket has pine needles, dog fur and moss; one has grasses and leaves; and one has sewing scraps. We love sitting quietly and observing the birds that visit! So far they seem very intrigued by the sewing scrap basket; the most curious chickadee spent a lot of time on the edge of this basket today!

To make your own nesting station provide a variety of goodies from this list-

Dead twigs
Dead leaves
Dry grass
Yarn or string—cut into 4- to 8-inch pieces
 Human or animal hair (especially horse hair)
Fur (dog, rabbit, or cat fur)
Sheep’s wool
Plant fluff or down (e.g. cattail fluff, cottonwood down, milkweed fluff)
Poly-fill, cotton batting, or other stuffing material
Spanish Moss
Bark strips
Pine needles
Thin strips of cloth, about 1 inch wide by 6 inches long
Shredded paper
Snake skin
Onion bag pieces
Mud- keep a muddy spot in your garden

I wanted to make something much more creative and pretty to hang in the trees, but time escaped me this week. However, Jen, from Paint Cut Paste, made the prettiest nest making holders using wire, a tennis ball, and wooden beads. Be sure to check out the rest of her amazing site for more great ideas to do with the kids!


  • July 21, 2010 - 9:13 am | Permalink

    at my school we have a robin that builds a nest in our playhouse every year. I would love to offer her materials such as this, what a great experiment for them! thank you for your idea!

  • March 31, 2010 - 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Glorious!! Thanks for the inspiration. We tackled ours yesterday afternoon!!

  • March 23, 2010 - 2:29 am | Permalink

    Wow! Thank you so much for this post! I loved the photos of your found nests and am so excited to gather materials with my boys to make nest building kits in our own hanging baskets! Such fun!

    ..and thanks for your sweet words today on my blog… you helped make my afternoon much brighter :)


  • March 22, 2010 - 9:32 pm | Permalink

    Clever clever mama you are.

  • March 22, 2010 - 1:21 pm | Permalink

    I think I’ll do this this spring: each year, my dog sheds heavily ~ we brush her outside and the fur always disappears quickly. A photo of what happened to it….

  • March 20, 2010 - 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Love your ideas – my class made their own nests last year – the idea was to make a nest that was actually kind of a nest making station. Thought you might like to see.

  • March 20, 2010 - 3:23 pm | Permalink

    So funny.
    The boys and I just made a bird nesting station in the yard today after we watched some robins flying off with bits of string. We filled ours with lots of colorful yarn bits. So pretty. Then I come in and read your post.
    Happy spring.

  • March 20, 2010 - 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Such a fun idea! I think we’ll be doing this!

  • March 20, 2010 - 11:29 am | Permalink

    We started our nest making station this morning. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Looking forward to learning more about Irish birds.

  • March 20, 2010 - 9:35 am | Permalink

    A perfect project for a rainy, cold first day of spring!
    We have a wren building its nest in a gourd birdhouse on the patio, I’m sure it would be most grateful for a convenient supply of nesting materials.

    Thanks for such a fun idea,

    Catherine :)

  • March 20, 2010 - 7:41 am | Permalink

    I love that nest made with your dog’s toy’s stuffing. Recycling at its best :-)

    The nesting station is a lovely idea…I imagine there will be some very proud homely birds shortly.

  • March 19, 2010 - 9:10 pm | Permalink

    I was brainstorming about how to create a special bird’s nest supply holder….I love your idea! I have a hanging basket up outside which I have been preparing for a pot this week! Thanks, Beth!

  • March 19, 2010 - 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Birds – what amazing creatures. Looking closely at nests is so inspiring. Makes me wonder how long I’d last out in the wilderness. I love the idea of the nesting stations. What great fun.

  • March 19, 2010 - 4:49 pm | Permalink

    the nests are so intricate and incredible! i love the one made of mud! we once found a hummingbird nest, it was breathtaking. my dad has a nest with a tiny blue ribbon strung throughout the entire thing sitting on a shelf in his office. it is so beautiful to see these weavings!

  • March 19, 2010 - 2:48 pm | Permalink

    How lucky you are to see so many different nests! I always think of the birds when I’m brushing my dog outside. Maybe we set up some nesting supplies too!

  • March 19, 2010 - 1:11 pm | Permalink

    we love nests, too! they are so special. I just love the idea of a nest making station for the birds!! we are still loving our nest from your little ladies!!!!

    have a great weekend

  • March 19, 2010 - 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful nests. We’ve been admiring nests recently too!

  • March 19, 2010 - 10:32 am | Permalink

    We’re doing this today!!!!

  • March 19, 2010 - 9:47 am | Permalink

    I’ve been meaning to do this for years now. I think is the spring we actually get it done. You have some lucky birds…

  • Lizabeth
    March 19, 2010 - 9:47 am | Permalink

    this was a lovely post! beautiful pics…we’ll now be making a nest station as a spring craft. thank you!

  • March 19, 2010 - 9:34 am | Permalink

    i absolutely love this post!!!!!!!!! we always leave dryer lint out in the beds but this is way too cute and a marvelous idea!!!!!! thank you soooo much for posting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • March 19, 2010 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    Magical mama you are!

  • Robin
    March 19, 2010 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    Such a pretty post!

  • March 19, 2010 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    Oh, I love this post! We’re bird crazy over here right now and we’ve been planning on doing this too. Great inspiration. We’re also planning to put out a bird “buffet” of little bowls of different food (soft fruit, bird seed, bread crumbs, soaked oats, etc.) to see what they choose to eat.

  • March 19, 2010 - 8:07 am | Permalink

    I find bird’s nests so fascinating – to think that one bird made it’s nest with twigs and fluff, another will make his with shiny bits and leaves, another with spit and mud. And they are always so beautiful. Another one of God’s little wonders!

  • March 19, 2010 - 6:35 am | Permalink

    Love this. I went to paintcutpaste, and am so in love with the idea of balls! Just darling.
    Very excited about making them!
    xxoo Steph

  • March 19, 2010 - 3:08 am | Permalink

    Brilliant! I love this idea. Enjoyed the link to the other site, too. You are fortunate to be able to observe the beautfiul nests.

  • March 19, 2010 - 1:13 am | Permalink

    This is such an awesome idea!! Love it!

  • March 18, 2010 - 10:31 pm | Permalink

    This sounds so fun! We have all sorts of birdies in the backyard. I love watching them and think they would appreciate something like this. :)

  • March 18, 2010 - 10:12 pm | Permalink

    What a fun idea! I’ll bet your birdies will be most appreciative. :)

  • March 18, 2010 - 9:34 pm | Permalink

    love your baskets! thank you for the mention of our little nest kits over at! i also wanted to tell you that my mom bought your little yellow peep chick on etsy for novi for easter — i’m sooo excited!!! :)

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