Help Birds Make a Nest

Spring will soon be here, and birds will be preparing to make their nests. Depending on the species, bird nests can be quite different. Some nest in tree cavities, others nest on the ground. Many songbirds build their nest with a combination of different types of vegetation. You can give them a little boost by offering up some nesting materials for birds in your backyard.



  • A cage for your nesting materials, such as: kitchen whisk, suet cage, berry basket, mesh produce bag, etc.
  • Scissors
  • Nesting materials such as: yarn, paper, human or animal hair, feathers, grass, leaves, twigs, moss, evergreen needles, bark


  1. Gather some nesting materials from outside or inside your house. 
  2. If using paper or cloth, cut these into thin strips. If using yarn, cut into 4-8 inch pieces.
  3. Push all the materials inside your cage. Attach it to a tree, fence or deck. You can also leave piles of nesting materials on the ground.
  4. Watch for birds using your nesting materials in the spring.


Ask Yourself

  • What types of birds come to collect nest materials?  Use a field guide, or National Geographic's Backyard Bird Identifier to figure out the species if you don't know.
  • Watch them closely - can you see where they're going to build their nest?
  • Read about different types of bird nests made by different species.

Learn More

  • Participate in NestWatch, coordinated by The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Parent Notes

  • Do not use dryer lint in your offering of nesting materials. It may crumble, get wet, or contain residues from detergents. It's best to stick to natural materials, or simple materials like cloth and paper. Find out more about nesting materials here.