On occasion my hair looks like a bird’s nest but now it might actually be one! You can’t help but notice that the birds are busy setting up home and collecting the finishing touches for their nests now. It never occurred to me to put out nesting material for them. But a friend told me that she encouraged her children to put out balls of hair (which she collected from their hairbrushes), to see if the birds nesting in their garden would use it to line their nests. And they did! What a great way to get children engaged and learn about the wildlife that’s living on the doorstep.
Simply clean your hairbrushes, gather ‘dust bunnies’ and even pet hair can be put out (as long as your pets haven’t been treated for fleas recently), small feathers from pillows are perfect too. You don’t need to buy synthetic nesting fibre, natural found material is better (birds use all sorts of natural materials, from straw and mud to sheep’s wool and dead leaves). You can either throw your fur balls onto the lawn, place them in a peanut feeder or suet block feeder, or simply hook them onto a branch as I did. Then wait and see if there are any takers.
If you’re lucky your hair will be used as nest lining to cushion the eggs and help insulate them. Finches, Robins and Tits are all likely to choose hair for their nests – some birds even use cobwebs. My favorites being the Long tailed tits. They make a pouch of a nest from moss held together by spider’s webs which they take up to 3 weeks to complete and use over 2,000 feathers in.*
So far I have a Great Tit nesting in my garden in a Woodcrete box – although it’s in a pretty unsuitable spot. I moved it from where it had fallen on the floor (just in case a bird stated building in it there – too easy for cats) and placed it on a wall hook temporarily, meaning to find the right spot for it the following day, but by the next morning I already had a lodger. So there it remains, right under the boiler vent. But who knows, maybe some of my hair will find it’s way inside?