Looking for an engaging backyard kids’ science activity? Create bird’s nest helpers filled with nest building supplies your feathered friends will love.
Then, enjoy watching the birds find a home!
With the arrival of spring, we’ve noticed our resident crows busy collecting material to build their nests. My 2.5 year-old was fascinated watching them search for the perfect twigs and root through the grass to find a tuft of moss. After observing and researching, we discovered that we could easily help out our feathered friends in their search for the perfect nest building materials by putting together these simple bird nest helpers.
Prepping for this activity couldn’t have been easier. I simply grabbed a few suet holders we had on hand, one package of suet and several bowls. Then, we headed outside to collect the materials.
Making the Nest Helpers
I lined up five bowls on our patio table and asked the kids what kinds of materials the birds around us use for their nests. While reading and observing our backyard crows, we learned that they build large nests out of twigs and line them with moss, pine needles and animal hair. In our area, we didn’t need to venture far to find moss to fill our first bowl.
The kids filled the next bowl with pet hair I gathered from our very own bunny. If you don’t have a pet, you can ask a dog-owning friend for a fur donation or simply replace it with bits of yarn. If using string or yarn, make sure the pieces are no longer than 3-4 inches. Anything longer can entangle adults birds and strangle the hatchlings.
For the final bowls, my 2.5 and 5 year-old raced around the house gathering small to medium-sized twigs, hay from the rabbit and lint (fabric softener free).
Once we had all the materials, I broke off a chunk of suet for each suet holder and placed it in the bottom before letting the kids fill them. The suet is optional, but we figured it wouldn’t hurt to attract the birds to the nesting materials with a little treat. My kids filled the containers with whatever material they liked. I reminded them not to pack it down otherwise it would be too hard for the birds to pull out.
Once all the nest helpers were completed, we headed to the birds favorite tree (the one with the bird feeder in it) and hung them for the birds to discover.
About a week as passed and so far the most popular materials with the birds has been the pet hair and moss. We’ve all been fascinated watching the birds flying back and forth collecting material. It makes my kiddos smile to think there are going to be some nice soft nests with some very happy hatchlings!