Although some birds are already nesting it is not too late to provide the birds that nest in your backyard with nesting material. While birds typically have no difficulty finding all the nesting material they need, you can make their job a little easier by providing them a wide assortment of items.
In a former blog, I discussed the fact that an increasing number of folks are providing nesting hummingbirds with cotton in something called hummingbird nesting balls. The balls are fashioned from vines and contain loose cotton. Hummingbirds will pluck cotton fibers from the balls and use it to create their nests. If you type Providing Hummers with Nesting Material in the search bubble found on the right-hand side of the blog page, the blog will appear, and you can read all about them.
Even though other birds will take advantage of this source of soft nesting material, there are other ways that you can supply titmice, chickadees and other birds with nesting material. One of the easiest ways to do so is to put nesting material in a suet cage. If you do so, make sure the cage is not greasy. Hang cages where they can be easily seen by birds. You can also make small piles of nesting material on the ground. It can also be placed in small baskets that are often used to display blueberries and other small fruits and berries. The baskets can then be hung from the limb of a tree or Shepherd’s hook.
Some of the various items that can be offered to the birds include short pieces of yarn, feathers (tree swallows like white feathers), slender strips of bark, pet and human hair, moss, and dry grass.
Materials that should be avoided are dryer lint, cellophane, plastic, aluminum foil, wire, and tinsel.
Who knows? You just might find the birds ignore your offerings. Then again, if they do, you will experience the thrill of watching them carry fly off with something you offered them. Even if you are not lucky enough to see birds collecting nesting materials, after the nesting season is over you might find some of your items woven into a nest—that’s great too.
Just an FYI, Audubon states that some of the items you mentioned as safe were actually very unsafe for them, including human hair and yarn: https://www.audubon.org/news/what-nesting-materials-are-safe-birds
Thanks for the information. I read where Roger Tory Peterson (the Father of Birding) had a haircut in the Galapagos and his cut hair was collected by a Darwin finch and added to its nest. There is always an exception to the rule. Read the Backyard Secret posted Oct. 2018 https://backyardwildlifeconnection.com/2018/10/10/backyard-secret-the-chipping-sparrow-was-once-called-the-hair-bird/