The First Day of Spring for 2014!

It’s becoming tradition to re-post this on the first day of spring, and even though I’m far from home this year, we won’t disappoint.

Before I did this project myself, I did some research. I found a reputable source that recommended putting yarn scraps out for the birds (no less august an institution than  The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has posted about this very thing.) I also talked to my local Audubon Society to get their approval.

Below is the original post, with a few changes I have made over the years as I learned more about nesting material  and an update to reflect what 2014 spring will bring.

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Today is one of my very favorite days of the year. Today we celebrate surviving another cold and gloomy winter, even though it doesn’t much look like spring at the moment:

03-18-14b

(Thanks for the photo, Amy! I saw snowy Colorado this week instead.)

 

 

At the farm we are eagerly anticipating a new arrival of goslings and watching to see if ewes start to show fuller mid-sections, hinting at the lambs that are due over a month away. Spring is a magical time. A time of promise and new beginnings.

This year I won’t be able to do this project today, like I traditionally do, but I eagerly look forward to retuning home so I can. It’s crazy easy, so easy that you could do it with even the smallest of children, inexpensive and environmentally friendly to boot.

You will need:

A cheap bird suet feeder. I got this one at Tractor Supply for $1.99.

A couple of handfuls of yarn scraps, cut into 3-6  inch lengths. (I only knit with natural fibers, so that’s what my yarn scraps are made of. It might not be a good idea to use acrylic yarn scraps, as they may not remain warm when wet.)

Put the scraps in your suet feeder and voila! You’ve just provided nesting materials for all the birds in your area.

I’ve been doing this for years and I never fail to feel a thrill when I see a bright strand of yarn carefully woven into a bird’s nest. You can also fill your suet feeder with raw fleece, if you have any handy. In the past, our beloved Ernie’s fleece scraps have always been particularly popular with the birds.

11 Comments

  1. That is what I do with my leftover bits of yarn. And I thought I was so creative.

  2. I did this a few weeks ago and it’s already time to refill. I guess I was surprised to see they were already nesting.

  3. That is such a nice idea! I saw a bird this morning, with a twig in its beak, as I was driving to work today. It would be cool to see birds come to the balcony to grab some yarn scraps! Plus the kitties would love watching through the window:)

  4. Exelent idea! <3

  5. I’m going to set this up over the weekend. I’ve been seeing lots of cardinals, blue jays, and scrub jays the past few weeks, along with lots of other birds I can’t identify (which is sort of sad because I live in the birding capital of the world).

  6. Seems a good idea but the magpies round here have been seen to recognise brightly coloured yarn in nests and remove the eggs/baby birds, this helps to mark the nests to these keen eyed birds so you may do more harm than good as it removes the natural camouflage of the nests and makes them much more visible.
    Shame but true.

  7. I would remind you to keep the pieces of yarn short. I remember my mother painfully telling me about seeing a Baltimore Oriole (one of her favorite birds to watch) hanging dead by one foot which had become entangled in a piece of yarn she had put out for nesting material. A nice idea, but be sure to shred it, or put out very short pieces.

  8. What a great idea! Any way we can recycle is helpful!

  9. Another idea for those of you with pets- my Aunt brushes her malamute husky and puts his hair outside for the birds. She’s seen quite a few dog hair nests in their yard. Lol. :)

  10. Great idea, will try to remember to do it once spring finally gets here. The Oriole’s nests blow down ever winter and they are constructed with bits of long bailer twine, horse hair and all sorts of interesting scraps they find around the yard.

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