Animals & Wildlife Magazine

Bricks and Mortar for Wildlife

By Philpickin @philpickin
Much of the ‘rubbish’ you throw away could be perfect building material for birds’ nests in the next few weeks, says the RSPB.
Knitting wool scraps, hair from brushes and combs and rug moultings are just some of the things that could be put on the garden rather than in the bin, the wildlife charity says.
As well as traditional nest building materials such as twigs, leaves and moss, birds often line their new homes with the less obvious items to make it softer and fill in small gaps.
And some birds find even more ingenious materials, such as some firecrests on the top of the Eiffel Tower which helped themselves to the hair from some waxwork mannequins of the engineers that built the tower!
The RSPB also suggests that if you have pets that need grooming or brushing, any hair or fur that you collect could be placed on the grass for birds to take for nest building.
Cat and dog fur and horsehair could be stuffed into holes and are great additional nest building materials.
Clean hay and wood shavings used for pet beds are also suitable nest building materials.
The RSPB doesn’t recommend synthetic fibres as they can be too tough and could entangle young birds.
Claire Thomas, RSPB Wildlife Adviser, says: “In the coming weeks we’ll see birds frantically busy building their nests, searching for suitable materials in our gardens.
“There are loads of things that we may automatically throw away which could actually help a bird line its nest ready for the breeding season and by leaving a bit of hair, fluff or wool you could make their lives that bit easier.”
The RSPB is also asking gardeners not to be too tidy in the coming weeks as things like dried grass, dead stalks, leaves, moss and twigs will be the main materials used for next building.
Claire Thomas says: “If you leave things like flower cuttings and grass in a suitable place these will also be used for nest building – the birds will tidy it all up for you!
“House sparrows in particular love natural nest building materials so a mixture of both will ensure all kinds of birds could set up home in your garden.”© Phil Pickin

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