We absolutely love seeing the birds flock to our feeders, bird tables and baths - so why not encourage more this spring by offering easy access to nesting materials?
Making this wire hanger was pretty simple, but cut wire is sharp and can spring back unpredictably - so the construction part isn’t an appropriate activity for younger children. They can however take part in the ‘stuffing’ part!
We used 1.2mm galvanised garden wire for the cage. This we wound around a poster paint bottle to an appropriate length, tightening the coils at the top and bottom once off the bottle and finishing with a crimp to avoid a sharp end. You can make a hanger out of wire at the top, or add this later with some string.
Once we had our wire cage, I handed over to my enthusiastic young helper who stuffed it with our collected materials. If you do this more carefully than a four-year-old, you can weave the materials into the wire - however we used the random-stuff method, which created some mess but got the job done.
Different birds make different sorts of nests - but you can please most UK garden birds by providing an assortment of natural materials and fibres that they’ll happily weave into their new homes. Such materials could include: sheep/goat/alpaca wool, pet hair, natural fibres such as sisal, coir, shredded wood packing plus dried moss and twigs. Yarn is also useful, cut into approx 5cm lengths - if this is colourful you might even spot it within nests in your garden in a few weeks!
Some materials can be problematic and even dangerous for birds and should therefore be avoided. They include long lengths of string and human hair (which can tangle around necks and feet), plastic in any form (including nylon), dryer lint or any wool/pet hair that has been treated with pest repellent.
We’re going to wait until the strong winds have died down before we put our hanger out - then we’ll enjoy watching the sparrows, blue tits and robins that we spot on the feeders start to construct their nests in readiness for those eggs…