Jim Williams has been watching birds and writing about their antics since before "Gilligan's Island" went into reruns. Join him for his unique insights, his everyday adventures and an open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond.

Hair -- your loss could be birds' gain

Posted by: Jim Williams under Birds in the backyard, Nesting Updated: March 29, 2012 - 2:37 PM

Will birds use human hair as a nest-building component? A reader recently asked that question. The answer is, yes. Many bird species incorporate animal or human hair in their nests. Some people, perhaps you, can pull it from the brush (my brush doesn’t need cleaning very often). Others go so far as to collect cut hair from the floor of the salon or barber shop to carry home and offer to the birds. A site I found via Google suggested placing the hair in a mesh bag of some sort (onion, potato, oranges). I’ve seen animal hair in nests of chickadees, for example, but I’ve never considered human hair. Long strands would be good for binding other materials together. Some folks offer nesting birds bits of string. That'll work. One no-no -- the lint collected by the filter on your clothes dryer, comfy as it feels, should not be offered to birds. It too readily absorbs moisture, which in turn can cool eggs or young birds.



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