If you are looking for a gift for hummingbird devotees, a hummingbird nesting kit may be the answer.
You can purchase kits from several companies or make your own. Each kit consists of a wire suet feeder and a supply of nesting material. All of the kits I checked out online contain either raw or processed cotton. Some even include kapok and lichens.
Currently hummingbird nesting kits are rarely employed in Georgia. In fact, I only know one couple that annually offers cotton to ruby-throated hummingbirds . They have told me that, on several occasions, they have seen female hummingbirds collecting cotton from their wire cages. They also mentioned hummingbirds have a definite preference for loose cotton over cotton balls. Perhaps this is because the birds find it more difficult to pull fibers out of a compacted ball. Who knows?
I suspect, in most locales, hummingbirds have little problem finding plant down to line their nests. If that is the case, you might ask yourself, “Why would anybody want to offer ruby-throated hummingbirds cotton?” One reason might be having an ample supply of cotton fibers available to line their tiny nests makes the female’s arduous job of constructing a nest a little easier. However, it may be because hummingbird fans simply want to experience the exhilaration that stems from watching a hummingbird actually use “their” cotton to construct its nest.
I know it would make my day!