Waiting for the Birds

Tick-tock

Tick-tock…the waiting game

I’m tracking my various nesting materials in the garden, but no discernible visitors just yet.  At first I was hoping to spot a bird swooping by.  Now I’d be happy with any sign that they’ve found the super-soft bits of wool, laundry lint and yarn. I hung the wreath in the Magnolia tree outside my home office window. The bag of laundry lint is hanging from the Pittosporum out back.  I even added a third, large plastic bag, weighted down with a garden table for the squirrels. It’s directly in their path. No takers.

Nesting Wreath

Nesting Wreath

After our last big storm I found remnants of what may have been a nest from last year under the pine tree. The bits of blue lint were unmistakably the color of our flannel sheets. So…I remain hopeful.

On the subject of birds, I signed up for tweets (I crack myself up) about Phoebe the Allen Hummingbird.  I learned today that she’s already laid the first egg of her next brood. These hummers generally lay a pair at a time, the size of tiny breath mints.

Phoebe's nest.  First egg, February 10th

Phoebe’s nest. First egg, February 10th

Here is the link to the live webcam in case you missed it. Warning: watching the nest all day is habit-forming. That said, it’s a habit worth forming.  Enjoy!

Laundry Lint: It’s For the Birds!

Laundry Lint

Mesh bag of laundry lint, high in a tree

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, winter is just five weeks away.  Within three months of that, we’ll be enjoying spring.Time is wasting!

I save our laundry lint year round, but if you are just getting started you’ll have a few months to amass your collection. I keep a bag in a cupboard above the dryer.  After each load of laundry, I sweep the lint trap and add it to the bag.  It’s a great way to re-purpose what you might otherwise throw in the trash, and a fun way to attract birds to your garden.

As spring approaches, I fluff up the collection and fill the mesh bags I’ve saved from apples or onions. My boys loved this activity when they were young, but now I’m on my own!

Once you fill the bags with laundry fluff, secure them high in a tree. You can also wedge the bags near the top of the eaves.  One year I tied one to an empty swing frame. You lint bag should be sheltered from the elements and away from predators.  Locating them near feeders or water sources helps too.  Whatever you can do to make it easy for birds to find the laundry lint, the better.

A bright red bag of laundry lint, tied with a bow, also makes a fun and funny gift topper for your nature-loving friends.  They’ll think you’re crazy, then they’ll laugh and come spring they’ll be smiling and thanking you as they hang the lint in a nearby tree.

Laundry lint: it’s for the birds!

Mourning Doves

Nesting Mourning Doves

Additional Resources

Airing My Dirty Laundry…Lint

Laundry Lint

Yep…that’s laundry lint.  It took several months to amass that collection too.  Each time I clear the lint trap, I add to my collection in a bag above the dryer.  The collection grows along with the handful of mesh bags I save when I buy apples or tomatoes in bulk.

Spring is just five weeks away: prime nest-building season for our neighborhood birds.  I’ll stuff those bags with handfuls of lint and then we’ll tie them high up in the trees.  Birds (or squirrels) can pull little bits of soft lint through the mesh holes and carry it off to their nests.

Ah, the cycle of life.