Have you ever been so excited to do something that you ran ahead and did it without thinking things out first? That's what I did this week. All the birds are "twitterpating," as Friend Owl says in Bambi, and I thought I'd help them by providing some nesting materials.
They have plenty of raw materials around here, but last year I found a piece of tulle ribbon cleverly woven into a bird's nest, and thought how fun it would be to see some of my ribbon scraps bound up in this year's nests, to see pink and green and yellow polka-dotted ribbons woven in with grasses and twigs and mud. I did worry, however, that it might incite rivalry or jealousy among my feathered friends. Would the robin lord it over the house finch because she got the pink ribbon?
Despite some misgivings, I gathered a handful of ribbon pieces and hung them on a cedar near our feeders.
I had kind of a nagging feeling about it, though. Maybe I should check this out first. Keeping one eye on the ribbon outside my doorwall, and the other on my laptop, I did some internet searching. Well, sure enough, after checking with the Cornell University's ornithology lab and several other sites, I discovered that long pieces of nesting materials are not recommended. Birds can get tangled up in them. Uh-oh. And of all the different materials recommended for nests, ribbon was not included.
So I hurried out and gathered up all the ribbon, making sure to pick up any pieces that had fallen to the ground. Whew. I still remember how I felt after collecting a bird's nest last summer, and being told at our local bird store that the goldfinches nest all summer long. Don't know for sure whether it was a goldfinch nest that I had filched, but I felt terrible.
After collecting all the ribbon, I almost felt like I should just forget about "helping" the birds; after all, they've been building nests long before I came along. But, I do love to watch them, and I am providing them with food . . .
So, after reading a little more, I found an "approved" way to help the birds with their nest building.
Cut up pieces of yarn four to eight inches long, and put them in a suet feeder. Voila!
I can have the fun of watching the nest-building activities, and maybe in the fall, finding nests with red and blue yarn inside, and my little friends will have some soft and cozy bedding.
I was interested to learn in my reading that hummingbirds use spider silk in their nests. It holds things together, and also stretches as the little family grows! Human hair and animal hair (especially horse hair) is good for nests, too. No dryer lint. That surprised me. But apparently, there is residue in the lint from detergents and fabric softeners which can be harmful to the birds.
Hope you're enjoying all the activity around you as Spring finally arrives.
Linking with . . .