Activity: Nest Weavers/Nest Balls
To learn about materials and processes birds use to build nests. Learn to recognize bird nests by type. Create a Nest Ball full of materials birds can use for making a nest.
- Printable Instruction Sheet for this Activity: Nest Ball
- Videos: Watch a Weaver Build a Nest in a Single Day and/or American Robin Bird Nest Build
- Printable Nest Identification Handout
- Suggested Materials List (feel free to add your own)
- Pieces of String, yarn, twine
- Dried grasses, the longer the better
- Dryer lint
- Corn husk silk
- Pine needles
- Thin, flexible sticks
- Hair from your hairbrush
- Talk and share stories about bird nests. Where and when do you find them? What are their characteristics? How are they built? Have you ever seen a bird making a nest?
- Show video(s): Watch a Weaver Build a Nest in a Single Day and/or American Robin Bird Nest Build
- Discuss follow-up questions: What did you observe about the birds' building process, materials, locations? What supports your observations?
- Distribute handout on Nest Identification.
- Make a Nest Ball to provide nest-building materials for local birds using photos for reference and the following steps:
- Collect materials for Nest Ball (suggestions listed below, but feel free to innovate)
- Start to wrap pinecone with string twice around the middle tightly, then continue more loosely as you...
- Begin to insert light objects such as pine needles, dried grasses, flowers and natural materials in between the pinecone and the string to secure the materials. Don't wrap so tightly that birds can't extract them from your bird nest ball.
- Once you have several layers, continue to loosely stuff with fluffy materials like cotton, dryer lint and hair (again, make them easy to extract, not too tight).
- Once satisfied, tie a long string/yarn/ribbon to your Nest Ball in order to hang it from a tree branch
- Hang your Nest Ball watch the birds come to collect!
- Keep a record of birds you see and if you want, share it with us on social media #EarthMonth3050!