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Topic: bird nest supply station tutorial  (Read 8954 times)
Tags for this thread: spring , bird , nest , scrap , pagan , tutorial , craftster_best_of_2011  Add new tag
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lunamadre
« on: March 21, 2011 10:48:36 AM »

Happy Spring everyone!  
I was reading about nest building supply stations that people make, usually out of mesh onion bags or an empty suet feeder, or simply scattering the supplies in your backyard.  I loved the idea of using tiny fabric scraps, fluff and yarn to encourage nest building in my yard, but the suggestions were just not....crafty enough!  So I enjoyed making this over the weekend and wanted to share my idea with everyone.....




Wanna make one too?

Supplies:

-Attractive woven structure of your choice.
(I found a pack of 4 bamboo plates at a dollar store....but any sort of woven basket or wreath should do.)
-Garden shears
-Craft scissors
-tweezers or needle nose pliers
-Yarn needle
-Yarn or twine (natural fibers are best, especially wool)
-bits of fabric, fleece, cotton batting (no more than one inch wide and six inches long...it can strangle or entangle birds)
-Wool roving
-(I didn't use this, but I read that you can use pet hair too...or hair clippings.  Just make sure hairs are short an unable to tangle around birdie toes!)
-Scavenged twigs, dry moss and brush from your yard.  I used flexible twigs, ornamental grass, iris leaves, tufts of dry grass, soft pine branches, etc....just don't pick from any areas that you know have poison ivy!
-Items NOT to use:  dryer lint, long string, fishing line, anything plastic!  
I also read that birds tend to avoid anything colored bright red. Keep in mind that this stuff might all blow in your yard, so if you don't want to stare at bright blue flannel bits in your shrubs all summer, try something that blends in. Smiley

-Lay some of your long twigs and grass around the circular edge of the plate until you like how it looks. Thread your yarn needle with a long piece of smooth twine or yarn.  Tie an end securely onto the brim of the plate.  Sew large stitches around the edge of your plate or basket, covering the branches and securing them to the plate.  These branches are too large for the birds, they serve as "pockets" to stuff everything else.  Keep the stitches large and really spaced out.

-Weave around strips of cloth and pieces of yarn under the stitches, in the branch spaces, or use your tweezers or yarn needle to thread them into the weave of the basket/plate.  Make them secure enough that a soft breeze won't free the materials, but loose enough that a bird could easily pluck it free.  
-Tuck in wool, fluff, moss, etc, and rethread your yarn needle.  Sew on top of that to secure it in, once again with big stitches.  You can make a star design like I did on the top if you want.  Add as much as you want.
-Thread more yarn and tie a long tail on the left and right side of the plate.  Tie it to a tree trunk securely, out of reach of predators (cats, etc.), in a quiet/sheltered area where you can observe from a window.

I just put mine out this morning, birds are supposed to be really nesting in mid march, so go get started now!  
« Last Edit: March 23, 2011 02:57:57 PM by PixieVal » THIS ROCKS   Logged

Oyhana
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2011 10:58:07 AM »

Happy Spring!

I love this.  Thanks for sharing the tutorial.  I think I might get one started for our yard birds.
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sum1smuma
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2011 11:04:54 AM »

This is wonderful. Thanks for sharing. I have a gardening project I was asked to do at my son's school and this will make an awesome addition to it.  Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2011 11:07:40 AM »

I LOVE it! I have tons of scraps and a few empty woven baskets in the basement too.

Why not drier lint though? I make my own unscented laundry soap and don't use drier sheets, you'd think the fluff from my drier would be perfect...
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« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2011 11:12:04 AM »

I love the idea of this and the execution if it it really cool!  Great idea!
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SkyyAngel
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2011 11:21:35 AM »

This is so cool! I've never even heard of it... like a birdy Home Depot. <3 I'll have to make one for my mom to hang outside her window, she loves seeing the songbirds flit by.
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lunamadre
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2011 11:22:28 AM »

I LOVE it! I have tons of scraps and a few empty woven baskets in the basement too.

Why not drier lint though? I make my own unscented laundry soap and don't use drier sheets, you'd think the fluff from my drier would be perfect...

Thanks everyone!
This link has more detailed information on nest building supplies...
http://www.dannylipford.com/how-to-attract-birds-to-your-yard-with-nesting-material/
I've read from a few sources that dryer lint crumbles when it gets wet and doesn't work very well for construction.  I know it sounds strange, I was pretty surprised too when I read that one...it seems like such an obvious choice.

The pic of the supplies is "staged", lol....I actually sat outside in my Adirondack chair with everything at my feet.  Sometimes I would wander around my yard and stick extra twigs and stuff in that I found.  It's also great during spring clean up, if you are clipping old dead perennial stems and leaves or grasses.  Half of the fun was enjoying being outside again!
I think this would make a great kids project too!  Let me know how that goes!
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Purrrna
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2011 12:06:24 PM »

So cute! I could do something like this for my parents yard, and put cat hair in it. I have three cats so there is plenty of it.  Grin It would be perfect spring present for my mom, a lot of birds live in their garden and she would love it if some nested there. Smiley
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craftylittlemonkey
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« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2011 01:14:22 PM »

Wouldn't they be... scared off by the smell of cat though? Or would it make them more vulnerable to cats if they associated that smell with safety?

Thanks for the lint link, will check it out!
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lunamadre
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2011 01:24:46 PM »

I don't think so....I guess it's something they naturally do in the wild, just scavenge for whatever works. I even wondered about the smell of my own hands on the materials, but I don't think that will affect it. I hear they love horse hair, and they sweep up cobwebs and spider webs with their wings to help line their nests, and use mud to paste it together....they're crafty just like us!   Grin We need a bird expert here! Cheesy
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« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2011 01:38:17 PM »

This is so clever! I will TOTALLY be doing this later today.
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baygirl69
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2011 06:11:11 PM »

yes! i wanna make one too!!! fun, fun!
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Clarachk
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2011 09:39:20 AM »

(And the bird lovers behind me collectively "AWWWWWWW!!!")

Awwww! This is so freaking sweet! I'd be tempted to hang this on my front door in place of my nearly-dead Christmas wreath :O) This would look GREAT! I was super excited to see that the base was a picnic plate holder thingy! (Sorry for lack of a more 'proper' name, LOL.) I always hated having to toss out the ratty-looking ones. Now I will have a reason to hoard these along with all the other crap I save because "it's NOT garbage! It can be beautiful too!" Your little tute here sites endless possibilites. Thank you for sharing it with us!!!
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AnnaAnna
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2011 12:29:41 PM »

Very cool!  I just saw the thumbnail and thought to myself "that looks like a bird's nest" -- haha and it is! (or soon to be!)
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lunamadre
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2011 08:14:33 PM »

(And the bird lovers behind me collectively "AWWWWWWW!!!")

Awwww! This is so freaking sweet! I'd be tempted to hang this on my front door in place of my nearly-dead Christmas wreath :O) This would look GREAT! I was super excited to see that the base was a picnic plate holder thingy! (Sorry for lack of a more 'proper' name, LOL.) I always hated having to toss out the ratty-looking ones. Now I will have a reason to hoard these along with all the other crap I save because "it's NOT garbage! It can be beautiful too!" Your little tute here sites endless possibilites. Thank you for sharing it with us!!!

You're so welcome!  I threw out some old baskets a while back and during this project i kicked myself.  lol I was looking so hard for the "perfect" basket or wreath, and I got so disgusted by the cost.  I mean, 8 dollars for a little grape vine wreath?  really?  Where I live I drive past acres of vineyards constantly, it seemed so dumb to buy one.  But I didn't have the patience or time to ask someone for some grape vine, soak it and then make one.  Some of the baskets were honestly too "nice" to purchase for this project.  I was getting so frustrated and then I saw the plates and figured it was worth a shot.  I do have to admit, it was great fun making something from basically nothing!  And it felt good to pull out the scrap bag and actually have a use for all the tiny pieces I thought I was crazy for keeping.

I noticed one piece of fabric sitting on the grass yesterday, but i haven't seen any action yet.  I did place it near our corn cob feeder that the blue jays are using...so I'm hoping the notice it.  I'm thinking of scattering some bird seed on the ground near it to attract the birds more...I'm worried it blends in too well and they haven't found it yet!
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« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2011 03:31:14 PM »



We did this as a school activity yesterday!
I didn't have a plate or basket but I had these little rattan balls from the dollar store. They worked really well, and the kids just used the eraser end of a pencil to poke the bits of yarn and fabric into the balls. They're not as wreath-like and pretty as yours, but the kids had a ton of fun with them.



They're hanging by our bird feeder and I've seen several birds visit them. This is SUCH an awesome idea, Lunamadre! Thank you!!
« Last Edit: March 25, 2011 03:32:54 PM by Longelegantlegs » THIS ROCKS   Logged
lunamadre
« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2011 05:06:46 AM »

OH how cute!!! I was looking at grapevine wreath balls and I wasn't thrilled with the cost...I didn't even think of checking a dollar store for those kind.  That works great!  Thanks for sharing the pics, now I want to go try that too! Cheesy
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craftylittlemonkey
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« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2011 09:56:24 AM »

I forgot to post this in the Recycling Round Up and I can only post once, poop! One of you might want to enter this awesome project... http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=377431.msg4455456#msg4455456

I sorted through all the scraps but there were just too many to weave into a basket. We used a big deep basket and made a yarn "net" over top to hold it all in. It's on the deck with some bird seed so hopefully the birds and squirrels will make use of it if we're not too late for nest building.


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lunamadre
« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2011 11:01:03 AM »

wow, that's a big stash! lol  Looks like your yard will have many toasty warm critters this spring. 

afterthought:  My only concern is with the yarn netting you made....I'm worried birds might get entangled in it.  Undecided  I used the same technique on mine, but it's against a flat plate.  Once the critters start sticking their head on to get the scraps on the bottom of the basket, I'm worried they might get tangled up and trapped.  Maybe just keep an eye on it, or eliminate the yarn web?  One of my friends said she just sets out an uncovered basket full of fluff, and the birds use it just fine. 

by the way, the link doesn't work craftymonkey...what is it for? 
« Last Edit: April 05, 2011 11:08:34 AM by lunamadre - Reason: afterthought » THIS ROCKS   Logged

craftylittlemonkey
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« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2011 11:38:09 AM »

Sorry, I should have mentioned that it's a Friends of Craftster forum. You can become one though, it's very affordable, supports our lovely moderators and has great benefits. The link is to a thread about our fave recycled crafts, I have a feeling it's going to be a good one...

I'll keep an eye on the basket, good thing the string is on there because it's windy today and it's fallen off the table out there already. Have to think up something else to hold all that in. That was about a fifth of my shred stash BTW. I have a problem throwing things out...
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lunamadre
« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2011 12:54:10 PM »

oh, ok....I was a friend of craftster and I forgot to renew, I probably should!  Thanks. Smiley

Maybe use some yarn to anchor the basket to the table?  Or deck, railing, etc.?
Some of the original ideas I saw for this used mesh bags from like garlic or onions.  Maybe if you found something like that to kind of sew a cap onto the inside rim of the basket? Or maybe a loose weave burlap with some holes snipped in?
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abandonedcouch
« Reply #21 on: April 17, 2011 06:16:38 PM »

What an adorable idea! I wish I'd thought of it a few weeks ago...I had swept up a huge pile of debris from my yard and the neighborhood robins kept raiding it. I felt kinda bad that all my yard junk was getting picked up and deposited in my neighbors' eaves and gutters Smiley

Let us know if you see any pretty nests in your tress soon!
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Clean Star
« Reply #22 on: May 03, 2011 07:44:15 AM »

What a great idea! I use to put things out for the birds nesting, but it was blown all over the yard. I've learned a few things since then. I also use to use dryer lint, but was told if it gets wet than it mats up, and can smother the baby birdies. I'm going to keep this close at hand and next spring make this.  It also looks cute just displayed on a tree trunk. My birdies are already nesting, or have nested already. Thanks for the idea.
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« Reply #23 on: January 23, 2012 11:45:21 AM »

Congrats!!

You're a Craftster Best of 2011 Winner!

Craftster Best of 2011 Winner

Feel free to use this badge as your avatar!
If you'd like to use it as a badge on your personal website or blog, you can grab the full code at the bottom of this page.
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« Reply #24 on: January 24, 2012 06:56:28 PM »

That is awesome.I have a pet squirrel *she's handicap so we couldn't let her go in the wild* and they also LOVE nest building things too.Her idea of heaven is the bag of cotton balls my boyfriend bought her.So they would love this too.And same rules apply to them no string,dryer lint and they also HATE red.
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lunamadre
« Reply #25 on: March 09, 2012 11:19:05 AM »

HOLY COW, how did I miss this.... I did not realize until today that I was given best of 2011 for this idea, that is so awesome!  Thanks Craftster, I'm so flattered! Cheesy  Thanks!
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