Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Tale Of Two Nests

I found the funniest bird nest the other day.  I'm used to seeing wool and horse hair in the nests around here, but holy moly, look at all this!


In case the labels are hard to read, this bird used wool, horse hair, felt scraps, chicken feathers, baling twine, one of B. Willard's gray/brown curls and a couple hunks of Hank hair.  This has to be from last spring as Hank hasn't started shedding yet.  It blew down in the big storm the other night, along with this robin (I think) nest.


The builder had used wool to anchor the nest to some branches.  It held so well that the branch broke before the nest did.  I'm sorry little birds :-/.  So much hard work down the drain.

Almost all the nests I find on our farm are constructed at least partly with wool.  Some birds use it for structure, some to anchor it to the tree, some to pad out the inside to keep their babies warm and dry.  I love it :-).

Last spring we assembled some bird nest builder kits but I never got around to marketing them.  We designed a stamp, found the muslin bags at a shop here in town, stamped and stuffed and tagged...and then Blossom showed up and I lost focus.  I was planning on advertising them at Christmas...and Maisie showed up. I think I need more practice focusing with a baby lamb, eh?  ;-)



"Wool Nest Builder - Birds love to add bits of string, flowers, horse hair and especially wool to their nests.  Drape tufts of all natural (and washed!) wool on nearby branches and watch for fleece lined nests in the spring."


I've seen several blogs talking about birds and nests and the simple and not so simple beauty of spring.  None of these nests have any wool! 

If you'd like to start seeing some wool in your bird's nests, leave a comment telling either your favorite bird or the birds most common to your part of the world.  On Friday I'll draw for a couple winners and get a Wool Nest Builder kit out to you right away.

If you'd like to purchase a kit without waiting to see how your luck is going to run, just drop me an email. For the rest of April (which is flying by :-o), free shipping (for nest builder kits only) to blog readers!

31 comments:

The Dancing Donkey said...

What a great idea! I don't think I could choose just one favorite. My favorite bird to hear are the thrushes, my favorite to watch are the barn swallows and one of my favorites to see are the Bobolinks.

majorasue said...

My favorite, after the hawks, is our little mountain bluebird. My cat is under strict orders not to hurt them (he's allowed to take as many starlings as he wants)

Maureen said...

We have flocks of tiny yellow birds that fly in unison; they only started showing up about two years ago - but I love that they have made my large yard (with about 30 trees) home. I don;t know what species they are; they seem really bright for a canary...

I only have one REAL nest; a robin's nest that came off over our door to the back yard. What a great idea to add wool; what a wonderful way to keep them warm (especially in our climate!) Fingers crossed to win a kit!

Suz said...

oh goodie!
I can't wait to see a woolly robin's nest....or
watch a dove trying to figure out what it is and where it should go!
bless you
...

Dreaming said...

I love the Meadowlarks. There is nothing nicer than being out at the barn and hearing the cheery sound of the Meadowlark as I do my chores. It always makes me smile!

English sheep gal said...

We have a pair of robins who nest under our deck every year - most years they manage to hatch 3 sets of beautiful blue eggs. Still cold here near Buffalo, NY - got fantastic pictures the other morning of the robin parents bringing in extra pine needles to add to the nest when we had a snowstorm. I also comb my 2 longhaired cats and put the fur outside, where it gets used in some of the nests. Have been loving the recent lamb pictures by the way - especially 'teefers'

peggy reed said...

what a great packaging idea! I would think they would sell well at fiber fests, farmers markets and even at your local garden stores. I've always wanted to put my leftover fibers in one of those suet holders and hang it out for the birds to grab supplies -- but I have yet to do so. I like watching the cardinals in my backyard and I saw a blue bird this spring -- I have never seen a blue bird in my yard! Thank you for the wonderful giveaway!

Venom said...

My favourite visitors are the hummingbirds - little green helicopters with red throats - that "buzz" by (literally, they are so LOUD)!
We have chickadees by the dozens all year round, always so cute and plump.
Then there are the small flock of bluejays that return each year - the Sopranos of the bird world, when they approach the feeder everyone else scatters.
I so long to attract purple martins as they eat scads of bugs and, in this part of the world, that is a hunger I can appreciate deeply in them.
p.s. I too loved the 'teefers' pics!

Katie said...

One of my favorite birds are Canadian geese. Their departure signals the start of winter here and arrival means spring is here to stay.

Venom said...
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Lori Skoog said...

Does your brain ever rest? Clever idea and I love the bags.

gowestferalwoman said...

We had Bullock's Orioles make their nests in the cottonwoods down below over the creek - their fuzzy hanging'by a thread basket nests would sway in the breeze so high, high up...

they burned. I dont know if any survived. but we are waiting...

that brush with the lambswool reminds me when i empty out the vac outside - dexterdog, tomaz, isabel fur all over the place like white fluffy cotton balls LOL!

see? everyone loves the little ewoks!!! ;)

Tombstone Livestock said...

Love the bags, clever idea, I have an old power pole the utility company replaced years ago that was full of woodpecker holes, I stuff hair from the dogs or mine when I clean out hairbrushes. Suet feeders make good nesting material holders also.

I agree does your mind (or body) ever rest.

Andee said...

I was cleaning my drum carder yesterday and I put out all of the fiber for the birds. I just love your packaging! I like to take the fiber and used a drop spindle and spin it a little before I put it out. I found our pet birds were getting the fiber twisted around their feet. But if we spin it into 3" strips they have no problems. My kids love taking the fiber and rolling it with their hands to make yarn. It is a fun little extra step.

thecrazysheeplady said...

Great idea!

Far Side of Fifty said...

I like Loons the best..but they don't use fiber in their nests! Maybe because I am a tad Loony:)

Bluebirds..we built bluebird nesting boxes years ago..I love it when the Bluebirds return each year.
Your little bags are so cute:)

LunabudKnits said...

My favorite bird is the odd bird who built a nest outside our front door. The new was made with plastic bags which was rather strange seeing as we back up to farm and there are many grasses available to build a nest from.

Misfit in Paradise said...

I have several feeders dotted around my yard. My visitors include; cowbird, mourning doves, indigo buntings, american goldfinches, sparrows, purple finches, grosbeaks, juncos, titmice, cardinals, northern flicker, ruby throated hummingbirds, and robins in the yard. Oh! I forgot the swifts, and the blue herons across the road and.....

Miha Giustina said...

Wonderful idea, these little wool bags! It is hard for me to choose a favorite bird... .my four bird feeders attract around 120 birds a day.

Over the past 10 days I started seeing a family of red cardinals (some 12 babies) and another of golden finches, landing under the bird feeder to get their daily dose of black sunflower seed. Their parents are regulars at the bird feeder so it was nice this year to see all these young babies coming over with them. Quite a colorful scene!

I also like my 6 doves -- 2-year-old visitors. Always returning in the same number and settling under the same 2 bird feeders. They prefer shelled peanuts over sunflower seeds.

Jean said...

I love all song birds, but I think my 3 top favorites would be loons, mourning doves, and cardinals --

Dakota Shetlands said...

I love the cranes. They pass through my area during calving in March and weaning in October. It's as if they signal the change of seasons. But I do love a simple sparrow. Sparrows like people are unique in their own way and if you take the time to look and learn you might be surprised. My eye is on the sparrow!

LaColline said...

My favorite is obviously the Cardinal (we are red bird ranch), but I do love them all. Except for the Red Tailed Hawk; honestly, that's a love-hate relationship. I admire their elegance in flight, but they have attacked my cats :(
Now, when I hear their screee, I send cats inside and then stand on the hill and tell the hawk to go away. Sometimes he will talk back!

My story for this Spring is about a Dove who began building her nest on the top shelf behind the shop where husband keeps his rock collection. She must have been in a hurry to drop her eggs, because there wasn't much "building" and a space between the rocks she chose allowed one egg to roll to the ground. I added a large puff of wool to the front and she added more stick stability over the next few days. At least one more Dove will be added to the flock!

I adore the bag design, Sara!! Please do not add my post to the drawing; while I would buy the bags just for the art, there a lots of furry four-leggeds around here that share their undercoat and I put out spinning fiber in the early spring, too.

(A note to Maureen: Your flocks of yellow birds may be American Goldfinch.)
Good Luck, y'all. lvbj

LannieK said...

Hi Sara! Great idea!
I always put bits of yarn out and lint from the dryer... but this would be super!
Having just moved, me and the new birds are just geting acquainted. But we have Falcons, Steller Jays, Chickadees, Nut Hatches, Western Blue Birds... and I am SO HOPING the Hummingbirds arrive within the next couple of weeks... They are my favorite :-)
Thanks for the chance to win! (hugs & crackers for all)
Take care
Elaine :-)

MarmePurl said...

I have two nests in my gazebo, one inside a makeshift table in that gazebo and one in the grill. Three of these are robins, but I haven't been able to ID the others. Two contain snippets of yarn I scattered about. How wonderful it would be to see your little bag of construction materials work their way into the bird homes here.

MarmePurl said...
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Tyche's Minder said...

It is hard to choose a favorite! The goldfinches I think, but I would certainly miss the cardinals if they disappeared. Seems like, when we moved back east after years in California, the cardinals were one of the first things to welcome us back. You forget how ridiculously red they really are until you haven't seen them for a while.

Of course now I've got a baby countdown going for a favorite robin...

Alice said...

I participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count in March. I was surprised at how many different bird visitors were in my backyard! Perhaps the most unusual were the 8 wild turkeys who claimed my deck for awhile.
The Woodpecker family is one of my most favorite to watch on and off the feeder.
Wool strands do make for a wonderful addition to a nearby nest. Kinda makes me feel like I hand a hand in helping to make it. ;-)

april said...

What a beautiful idea! I have a wire spiral "thing" that I bought and used to put pieces of yarn, dog hair (when i had golden retrievers), etc in and hang it outside for the birds in the spring. Love all your new little lambies too. And that nest that fell is so beautiful, isn't it? They're amazing.

Nickname unavailable said...

I can not get over the use of such varied materials in the "feather and fluff" nest! It is such a work of art!
I think the idea of nest kits is just wonderful.
Peace
K

Eppie Doodle said...

Amazing what the birds use to build their nests! I love the bluebirds and the cardinals. I would love to win a little bag of wool from your lambies to feather their nests.

Take care.
Emily

Kim said...

I love the little muslin bags they are in.

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