how to help a bird make a nest

Wondering how to get birds to nest near your home? Finding suitable nesting materials can be a challenge for birds in early spring. With just a few minutes and a couple of dollars, you can encourage neighborhood birds to make their nests nearby.

Some birds, like hummingbirds, cardinals and orioles, cant be tempted by beautiful bird houses. A cardinal bird house is not certain to attract cardinals and even well made hummingbird houses arent always successful at attracting hummingbirds; however, like most birds they build their nests from lightweight materials they find nearby. If you help provide the nest-building materials they need, you might be surprised to see what birds nest in your yard this year.

Its easy to use what you already have to supplement twigs and grass that birds might find in the wild. From yarn scraps to dog fur, gather your supplies and get started on these creative DIY ideas! Dont worry — if DIY projects arent for you, we also sell nesting materials.

Convert suet feeders into nesting supply holders

For birds, gathering nesting materials in the early spring can be difficult. By mixing easily obtained nesting materials that songbirds will adore with empty suet feeders, you can assist backyard birds in building their nests!

  • Thoroughly clean your suet feeder.
  • Stuff it full of yarn, loose pet hair, or fuzz from a throw rug. Because pet fur is a naturally occurring substance that birds would typically use for nesting, it is a personal favorite.
  • Reinstall the suet feeder and observe how fast the nesting birds locate your furry basket of building supplies.

Create a yarn-filled nesting bag

Wild birds use whatever twigs, strings, and soft materials are available to them to build their nests. I was surprised to see a bird making numerous trips to and from my rug while I was air-testing it for use as nesting material. That gave me the inspiration for this easy DIY project:

  • Locate a loosely-gathered bag, such as a used stocking or empty onion bag.
  • Purchase a roll of yarn from a thrift or craft store. Go ahead and grab that bright pink or yellow yarn; both people and birds enjoy bright colors, and it will make it easier to find the nests later.
  • Cut the yarn into random lengths. Cut varying lengths of yarn; it doesn’t matter if it’s one or two inches long. Make sure the pieces aren’t too lengthy for tiny birds to handle, though.
  • Wad the yarn up and stuff it into the bag. No matter how well-balanced or how attractive it appears, the birds will manage to get the yarn out!
  • The yarn bundle can be hung from your fence or a neighboring tree.
  • Observe how the birds use the fur and strings to build their nests (if you’re lucky, you might even spot those vibrant strings in a nearby nest).

What can you do about it, then? Well, you can provide a wide range of types of nesting material that appeal to a wide range of birds, which will draw birds to your garden just as surely as if you had a feeder.

Try adding a small amount of water to a troublesome area in your garden to see if you can grow anything other than dirt. Common robins, swifts, and swallows all prefer to build their nests in mud.

A lot of songbirds are skilled weavers, skillfully assembling intricate twig and leaf, stem and fluff, or hair and moss weavings. Certain nests, such as those of the Baltimore oriole, dangle from a tree branch like a tiny tote bag. Some, like the robin’s, are cups that are covered in twigs that have been laboriously picked off one or more at a time. Even with birdhouses in your garden, the birds that live there will eventually use them to build nests. In Southampton, New York, a chickadee gathers nesting material from a coco mat placed over a trellis. Photo credit: Victoria Reith

Maybe you can find a place in your garden where you can arrange a variety of dried grass stems that are cut to a length of two to four inches when you trim your yard. Grass is frequently used by songbirds, ranging from robins to native sparrows, in their nests.

You don’t have a few snakeskins laying around unused, right? Well, then, but you never know when a snake in your yard might decide to shed its skin. If you come across one of these integumentary artifacts, which resemble thin, nearly transparent parchment, hang it from a tree or shrub where birds can discover it and use it as part of the bird’s décor.


How long does it take for a bird to build a bird’s nest?

Generally, nests are built within two to three days. Eggs are then laid at a rate of one egg per day. The day before the last egg is laid, most songbirds begin incubating the eggs. Incubation typically lasts 11-14 days, and most songbird eggs hatch within 24-48 hours of each other.

What to do if a bird makes a nest on your porch?

Spray the nest with an antibacterial spray. Once dry, remove the nest and dispose of it in a securely sealed container or exterior trash bag. Dispose of it in the trash away from the home. Clean the area where the nest was with a strong disinfectant.

Should I feed a nesting bird?

Most birds don’t need your help in the summer. When they are nesting and rearing their young, many birds focus on eating insects, so feeding is less necessary.

How do birds decide where to build a nest?

To deal with flying predators, birds look for places where they can hide or at least partially cover their nests. There’s a reason the cliche of the nest in the nook is ubiquitous; a nook provides great cover in every direction but one. Birds look for high places in homes where they can nest.