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Make a nesting bag for birds

Make a nesting bag for birds

We’ve been reading a bit about birds recently in our homeschooling – from Elijah being fed by ravens, to folk tales about birds. So to help the little birds in our area, we collected materials to make a nesting bag for birds. We stuffed it full of little snippets of this and that for our feathery neighbors to line their nests.

Two bags stuffed with cotton and shredded paper on floor

The weather dropped to freeze-your-nose off cold last week. While I love being outdoors, one thing this mama does. not. love. is being cold. Brrrrr! Anything below about 25 degrees is too cold, in my opinion.

My poor children have to wait for their daddy gets home to go play in the snow! In the meantime, I try to keep them busy indoors with winter crafts and activities that at least celebrate or recognize these winter days. I’m going to share a few with you this month!

Make a nesting bag for birds

You’ll need:

  • A mesh bag – like one leftover from onions, garlic, or avocados! The various colors these produce bags come in make the nesting bag vibrant and unique!
  • Cotton batting, or cotton balls
  • String to tie off the top
  • Nesting materials: ribbon, string, newspaper strips, cloth cut into small strips
  • Other materials you could use: twigs, pine needles (from your old Christmas tree?), dental floss, yarn

Boy sitting on floor building a nesting bagTwo boys sitting on floor building nesting bags

First, stuff the mesh bag with mostly cotton batting – the birds might like this but the main thing is that you want to fill out the bag so the other little bits are pressing against and poking out the sides. This will make it easier for the birds to grab. Alternatively, if you have a LOT of the other materials, you can skip this step.

Next, start tucking in bits of paper, ribbon and cloth. Keep the pieces rather small, about 1-2 inches to make it easy for the birds to grab.

Distribute your scraps all around the cotton batting. Don’t be worried if they start sticking out the holes. That’s good! You want that to happen. If your pieces are not sticking out, snip small holes in a few places in the bag. Not so big that the pieces fall out but just so they have room to poke out a little for the birds to grab. We will probably need to coax a few more bits out of our bags, but I had to take pictures in good daylight!

Tie off the top larger hole in the bag with a piece of long bakery twine or string. Use the long ends to tie the nesting bag onto a tree, bird feeder, fence, or other spot where birds can perch and inspect their new “toy.”

See what happens. Guess what we discovered: squirrels like nesting bags too! Ha! Don’t worry if you don’t see much activity at first, this is a good bird treat to keep hanging through winter and into spring when birds start creating new nests.

At any rate, this is a fun and easy activity for kids, uses up your scraps, and gives you an opportunity to talk about taking care of animals in our world with the kids.

What kinds of winter activities are you up to in your home?

Nesting bag hanging from tree

Adam

Monday 13th of April 2020

So reading through this activity, I think it is fun and educational for young children, however, as a biologist I would strongly encourage only using natural materials you might find outside that will breakdown naturally. You don’t want to cause any harm. For example, the onion bags are made of tough plastic material that can cause birds to get caught. Also you suggest ribbon which is usually petroleum/plastic based. Better alternatives would be just collecting leaves, sticks, grass, dog hair or other natural fibers from your yard and placing them in the square wire suet feeders.

Terri S.

Monday 12th of January 2015

This will be fun to do with my 2 granddaughters (sisters). They love watching the birds come to my feeders. I feed them suet in these cold months in addition to birdseed. The girls are in awe of the beauty of the various birds - cardinals, bluejays, woodpeckers, etc. I never thought of putting nesting bags in the trees to help them to build nests. Thanks for your wonderful ideas. :-)

Terri S.

Monday 12th of January 2015

This will be fun to do with my 2 granddaughters (sisters). They love watching the birds come to my feeders. I feed them suet in these cold months in addition to birdseed. The girls are in awe of the beauty of the various birds - cardinals, bluejays, woodpeckers, etc. I never thought of putting nesting bags in the trees to help them to build nests. Thanks for your wonderful ideas. :-)

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