When you think about it, nests are pretty amazing.
Imaging trying to build something high in a tree using just your mouth and your feet... It’d probably be quite hard. In fact, it’s probably best not to try!*
But, as spring begins and birds start weaving their wondrous constructions, you can still have a go, right here on the ground.
Born to be Wild, the new book by Hattie Garlick, is full of outdoor activities for families. On page 19, she tells us how to forage for nest materials (twigs, moss, feathers) and weave them into a basket shape.
Long-tailed tits build incredible elastic nests which actually expand to accommodate the chicks inside as they grow. Shaped a bit like a bottle, both the male and female work together the build it in spring – it usually takes two to three weeks. They fly an exhausting 700 miles to collect lichen, moss, feathers, hair and even spider’s webs to use as building materials.
Give birds a hand by leaving out nesting material – hair from your hairbrush, fluff or scraps of wool are all great.
Long, strong grasses and reeds can also make great natural crowns. Try plaiting three strands together, then tying them to make a ring. Next, decorate with daisies, buttercups and other leaves for a fairy garland, or stick long feathers in to make a Roman-style headdress. Hail Caesar!
*Of course, not all birds do nest in trees. Some nest in hedges, on cliffs, on the ground or, if you're a puffin, in burrows!