Sunday, February 26, 2006

Springtime Nesting

Got any little birders in your family that are budding and ready to bloom? Here's an idea to help them enjoy watching birds.

With spring just around the corner we're setting up bird house/nestboxes now so they'll be ready for the arrival of our avian visitors. It's pretty amazing to watch the progress of birds raising their families. It's even more enjoyable to watch little kids excitement over this kind of event. We want to rig a way to watch new bird babies on the inside of the nestbox. It's the ideal way to monitor their development and health ... not mention a terrific educational opportunity for kids. There's been a good amount of discussion around here about how to accomplish such a project easily. We've been making a list of equipment, accessories, etc. The project seemed somewhat daunting. Then I discovered that you can
buy a nestbox all ready to record this amazing springtime event. Yippee! Check it out ... maybe offering such a nestbox would be perfect for your backyard.

Speaking of kids ... why not give them a fun project that will help the birds with their nesting activities. Here's an idea ... offer nesting material for the birds (see what's needed for the project below). No kids? Or maybe you just don't have the time for such a project. Then just get a kit all ready to offer. There are even nesting material replacements available for it, too.

Need some help choosing the right nestbox, this guide will help you. Also check out the 10 most important features every nestbox should have.

Here's the Nesting Material Project:

Have the kids prepare a selection of materials from the following items (they've all been used by birds to build their nests). Then lightly pack the materials in a suet feeder and hang near your bird house. Use one or more of these material-filled feeders(*) depending the number of bird houses you are offering.

Yarn or string (cut the pieces about 4 to 6 inches)
Hair (human or animal hair -- horse hair is great)
Sheep's wool
Shredded Paper
Dry Grass (use your clippings after mowing the lawn ... be sure they are chemical free)
Dead twigs and leaves
Plant fluff or down from Cottonwoods or Cattails
Cotton batting or other material used for stuffing
Bark Strips
Pine needles
Cloth (cut in stips 1/2" wide by 6" long)

(*) If you don't have a suet feeder to offer the nesting material just lay some of the natural items
on your plants and hedges, hang in trees, etc. It will help the birds, but won't be as much fun as watching the birds take the materials from a suet feeder that you've placed nearby.

Providing nesting opportunities for birds is the best way to celebrate the coming of spring.

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