Saturday, March 30, 2013

Nest Material Workshop

 This is a great time of the year to put out nesting materials for the birds in your neighborhood. Inspired by the weaving skills birds use to make their nests, we headed to the grounds at Aberthau to pick out some art materials. We found feathers, flowers, twigs, dry grass and some fluffy seed pods.

 We decided these seed pods look like tiny hedgehogs.

I also added some wool yarn, raw sheep wool, old wool sweaters, weeping willow twigs and raffia for us to work with.

 The idea is to create a sculpture to present nesting materials for the birds. The loose bits are cut into small lengths: 3 to eight inches long and they are woven in for the birds to pluck out with their beaks. Any other loose material can be presented in a small basket. Tiny baskets can be used to present cattail or other seedy fluff for hummingbirds.

 We looked at photos of bower bird arches, and nests by weaver birds, hummingbirds and bush tits. I have been watching the bush tits in my neighbor's yard constructing a hanging nest. They use spider webs to hold their nests together, and make it strong and stretchy. Oddly, they are one of the few types of birds where other birds besides the mating couple help make the nest and sleep in it with them. Cosy!

 It's very relaxing to weave in a free-form. I like to weave at the end of a long day, winding down, slowning down and calming the mind.

 Et voila! A beautiful weaving with nesting material inside for the birds. Put this out in your back yard or hand it from your balcony and see what happens!

On the way to the bus stop going home, I heard a hummingbird and a woodpecker. I used the zoom function to take these photos.

I think this is a downy woodpecker--apparently you have to be a very good birder to tell the hairy apart from the downy, but it just says "downy" to me! Check here to hear the different between the two birds.

And on the other side of the road there were two more woodpeckers high up in the branches of the trees. What a treat. As I headed home after dinner and dusk was falling, just outside my door I raised my head and a bald eagle flew above me--another wonderful gift in a day that was for the birds.

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