Putting Out Nesting Materials For The Birds

At this time of year, birds are making nests. Putting out nesting materials for the birds to use is a way to help them.

We’ve been putting out sheep’s wool which comes as insulation with our orders from Riverford Dairy. We made a holder by weaving willow and put the sheep’s wool inside it, then we hung it up.

We also put some wool in a terracotta apple holder that came from the RSPB shop and we put some more nesting materials in an old children’s watering can and we hung that up too.

Other things you could use to put nesting materials in are a fat ball feeder, a hanging basket, old shoes, boots or crocs or an old teapot.

Birds have been coming to take some of the wool we put out!

You can help the birds by putting out nesting materials too! Do this quiz to find out what’s safe to put out!

Nesting Materials Quiz

Which of these are good to put out as nesting materials for the birds?

Cotton Wool

Dry grass

Dry leaves


Human hair

Knitting wool



Pet fur

Sheep’s wool


Toy stuffing

Tumble dryer fluff



Cotton wool: No! It’s best not to put out cotton wool as the threads are very thin and birds might get tangled up in them.
Dry grass: Yes! Dry grass is a safe nesting material for birds.
Dry leaves: Yes! Dry leaves are safe for birds.
Feathers: Feathers are a safe nesting material for birds and they are nice and soft to keep their babies warm.
Human hair: No! Human hair is dangerous for birds because they can get tangled up in it.
Knitting wool: No! Knitting wool is not safe for birds because they can get tangled up in it and a lot of knitting wool has polyester in which is a type of plastic and is bad for wildlife.
Moss: Yes! Moss is safe for birds and is lovely and soft to keep the babies snuggled!
Mud: Yes! Lots of birds like to use mud to stick their nests together so leaving a muddy patch in your garden is very useful.
Pet fur: No! Pet fur is not usually safe for birds because it might have chemicals like shampoo or flea treatment on. If it definitely doesn’t have any chemicals on then it can be okay.
Sheep’s wool: Yes! Sheep’s wool is safe for birds. It’s soft and good for insulation and can help keep their babies warm and snuggled!
Straw: Yes! Straw is safe for birds to use to build their nests.
Toy stuffing: No! Toy stuffing is made from polyester, which is a type of plastic. Plastic stays in the environment for a very, very long time and is dangerous for wildlife.
Tumble dryer fluff: No! Tumble dryer fluff often has tiny bits of plastic and chemicals in, which are dangerous for wildlife. It also isn’t a good building material because it soaks in water and can fall apart.
Twigs: Yes! Twigs are safe and lots of birds like to use them to build their nests.

We found an old bird’s nest on the ground in our garden underneath a bush.

Here are the things we found in it:
Sheep’s wool
Dry leaves

As well as putting out nesting materials for the birds, it’s a good idea to make sure your garden isn’t too tidy to help the birds find all the things they need by themselves.

4 thoughts on “Putting Out Nesting Materials For The Birds

  1. Well done. We put some wool out but I haven’t seen any birds taking it yet. I did see a blue tit with what looked like some of the wool in its beak.


  2. Something has been taking lots of the wool which was in the terracotta apple. I assume it was birds but I have never seen them. My garden is very untidy and lots of moss has been blown off the garage roof. You have given me several ideas for other things which I could use for putting wool into. Granny


  3. Hello Joey, I have just seen a coal tit collecting some sheep’s wool. Not from the terracotta apple but from a near-by bush. Not sure how it got onto the bush. Granny


    1. Grandma has put out wool in a container but we have not seen any birds taking it yet. We have seen birds with various nesting materials in their beaks and there seems to be activity in a couple of our nest boxes. Our garden is definitely not tidy so birds have plenty to go at.


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