Birdbrained Yarn Crafts: Simple Nest-Building Projects for Your Feathered Friends

comments (3) February 26th, 2009     

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Tina_Hilton Tina Hilton, contributor
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A yarn-stuffed suet basket will attract songbirds and beneficial insect eaters.
A cozy hand-knit nest will keep rescued hatchlings safe and warm.
Use a wide variety of yarn for a colorful addition to your garden.
A yarn-stuffed suet basket will attract songbirds and beneficial insect eaters.

A yarn-stuffed suet basket will attract songbirds and beneficial insect eaters.

Photo: Tina Hilton

Spring is almost here and tweeters will be needing nest-building materials and warm nests for orphan babies. Share your surplus yarn with wild birds by creating a hanging suet basket and a tiny knitted nest for rescued baby birds. Both are easy and are good for our fine feathered friends.


A cozy hand-knit nest will keep rescued hatchlings safe and warm.

Supplies:

  • Suet basket and suet block (These are easily found at any big-box store or home improvement emporium for well under $5 for both!)
  • Yarn cut into four 8-inch pieces
  • Size 5, 12-inch circular needles
  • Size 5, double-pointed needles
  • Scissors
  • Leftover yarn totaling around 50 yards
  • Tapestry needle

Instructions:

High-Fiber Suet Basket
Adding a suet basket to your garden will attract beautiful birds like woodpeckers, nuthatches, cardinals, bluebirds, and other insect-eating birds. Suet provides much-needed energy in the winter when insects are absent and all year-round as a supplement.


Use a wide variety of yarn for a colorful addition to your garden.

After inserting the suet cake into the basket, stuff the outside with the yarn lengths. Yarn will provide all the local birds with cozy and colorful nesting material. I used a wide variety of yarn from the thinnest linen to the bulkiest wool. I can’t wait to see my yarn incorporated into nests later this spring!

Keep the suet feeder full of suet all year-round and include yarn bits from early spring to late summer for nest building.

Knitted Baby Bird Rescue Nest
These small, tightly knit nests are used by wildlife rescue and rehabilitation organizations to hold very young hatchlings that need to keep warm until their feathers come in. They would like the nests to be the size of a half of a soda can or a preemie cap. Check with your local SPCA to see if there is a wildlife rescue organization that can use the nests, or see below for a list of organizations that will happily receive them. It's a great way to use up leftover lengths of yarn and to save a wild bird!

With size 5 circular needles, cast on 48 stitches with two strands of worsted-weight yarn. This combo will make a preemie hat-sized nest. Swap out the worsted for a double strand of fingering/sock yarn and drop down the needle size to a 4 and you will make a smaller nest. Avoid fuzzy yarn and loose knitting because the little bird could get its little toes caught. Tight knitting will yield a nest that will be firm and hold a bowl shape.

 


Scrap lengths of yarn work fine as long as you don't mind weaving in all the ends.


Remember to knit on the tight side to create a rigid nest.

Work in knit stitch for 2-1/2 inches.

Decrease as follows. Distribute stitches equally onto three double-pointed needles when it becomes difficult to knit around on the circular.

Row 1: *knit 6, knit 2 together* repeat to end of row.
Row 2: *knit 5, knit 2 together* repeat to end of row.
Row 3: *knit 4, knit 2 together* repeat to end of row.
Row 4: *knit 3, knit 2 together* repeat to end of row.
Row 5: *knit 2, knit 2 together* repeat to end of row.
Row 6: *knit 1, knit 2 together* repeat to end of row. 12 stitches remain on 3 needles.

Cut the yarn, leaving a 6-inch tail.


Thread your tail back through the remaining stitches, removing the needles as you go.

Thread the needle and weave through all the remaining stitches, drawing tight to close up the bottom. Weave in all loose yarn ends.


Pull the stitches together tightly.


The nest will be around 4 inches across by 2 inches tall.

Organizations Seeking Nests

Virginia Beach SPCA Wildlife Program
http://www.vbspcawildlife.com
Attn: Virginia
3040 Holland Road
Virginia Beach, VA 23453
Info@vbspca.com

Wild Baby Rescue Center, Inc.
http://www.wildbabyrescue.org
Attn: Hope Kosch Davison
14 Grouse Mountain Road
Blairstown, NJ 07825
babyrescue@yahoo.com

Check with your local SPCA or wildlife rehab organization to see if they would like to try the nests. They are often used for other critters including baby squirrels and bunnies.

For information about what to do if you find a baby bird:
http://www.wildlife-rescue.org/library/babybirds.php

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posted in: baby wildlife rescue nests, Yarn for wild bird nests, knit a bird's nest

Comments (3)

K1Drink2 writes: I love the idea! Insignificant Other gave me a wonderful bird feeder for Valentine's Day and installed it right outside my office window. The number of birds who visit me each day is incredible! Can't wait to add the suet feeder with nest materials and watch the activity.
Posted: 3:20 pm on March 13th
Tina_Hilton writes: You are right about that! Mine was ripped off the tree and a couple of days later carried off our 1 acre property into the woods by a raccoon or bear or??? The yarn is cheerfully scattered all over the front yard so the birds will still have their nest making material! I plan to put up a replacment soon on a differnt tree.
Posted: 10:14 am on March 7th
SMVG writes: Great idea, I am not sure I could put one in my yard. The squirrels would have a field day!
Posted: 9:31 am on March 7th
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