So, when Jen shared this activity from What We Do All Day that is titled "How to Help Backyard Birds Build Their Nests" I just knew that the girls and I had to do it. Plus, we did it on the last day of Earth Week!
First, I began gathering the materials. We didn't have any netting, but then I saw the bag our oranges had come in that I saved. I thought it would be good to use for a craft, but it was the perfect substitution for netting. The holes were a bit smaller, so I took the yarn and pulled it apart into thinner strands so the birds could successfully pull it through the orange bag holes.
Supplies needed: netting, scissors, a dark colored towel or paper (to set the netting on so it is easier to see), small twigs, grass, straw, dryer lint, yarn or string and a rubber band
- Cut a circular piece of netting. (We did squares and it worked out fine.) It may be difficult for children to do, so an adult will have to help with this part.
- Have your child help cut (and separate if necessary) some yarn.
- Gather lint from the dryer.
- Head outside and have your child gather the nesting materials for the ball.
- Set your netting onto a dark cloth so it is easier to see and have your child use the nesting materials to "fill" the ball. Make sure to leave enough netting to gather up for closing the ball.
- Wrap a rubber band (or twisty-ties work, too!) around the gathered netting.
- Slip a piece of string or yarn through the rubber band to use for hanging the ball.
- Let your child pick a place to hang the nesting ball. This would be a great time to discuss what areas of the yard your child thinks would be best. Would on the fence or tree be a good spot? What about on the swing set?
- Sit back and watch! You may be able to catch a bird in the act gathering nesting materials. The fun thing about the nesting balls is that you can check on them daily to see if the nesting materials have been pulled through the netting holes. Look around. You may spot a new nest in your tree made with nesting materials you provided!
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