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10 Ways To Help Nesting Birds
Partially excerpted from: Backyard Bird News
6. Offer pet or human hair in mesh bags or put in obvious places. If you looked at a hundred bird nests, chances are that most of them would have some animal hair in them. It’s soft, insulating, and easy to gather. When you groom your pet or get your own hair cut, save the hair to spread around your backyard for the birds to use.
7. Put out short pieces of (soft, breakable) fiber, string, and yarn. For birds that build woven nests (orioles, some sparrows, robins, and others), a few short pieces of yarn can come in very handy during building time. Offer the pieces in a mesh bag or small basket. Keep the pieces shorter than two inches to reduce the risk of birds getting tangled in them.
8. Hold off trimming hedges and shrubs. Lots of species use small hedges and shrubs for nesting. If you see a bird building a nest in such a place on your property, you’ve got a great excuse to avoid this bit of yard work for the next month or two.
9. Provide nest boxes. A well-placed nest box can mean the difference between nesting success and failure for a cavity-nesting bird. It’s hard for many species to compete with starlings and house sparrows, which can take all of the best natural cavities. So, help our native birds by buying a nest box that is specifically made for the bird species you want to attract.
10. Keep your cat inside (and ask your neighbors to do the same). Cats take an incredible toll on songbirds, but low-nesting species and their young are especially vulnerable to cat predation. Do the birds a favor and keep this non-native predator away from places where birds nest. If you can’t keep all the cats out of your yard, try fencing off areas below nest sites or feeders!