Mar 4, 2020 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, February 2019

Ask Birdsquatch: Furry Enlightenment

Is it all right to contribute human hair as nesting material for birds? See what Birdsquatch says.
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Hey Furball:

I want to give the birds some natural nesting material this spring. Can I put out the long gray hairs that were just cut from my head? I decided it was time to lose the mullet. I’m looking for enlightenment here. You’re so hairy I figured you’d know.

—Dandy Dan
Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Dear Dandy Dan,

Guilty as charged! I am furry. And each spring I pretend to be asleep in the woods so the chickadees and titmice can "steal" some of my fur for their nests.

Human hair is fine to put out for birds to use in nest building, provided the pieces are not longer than two inches. Longer strands of hair or other fibers (yarn, string, pet or animal hair) can twist around the legs of nestlings and cause problems. So, cut your flowing locks into short pieces and offer them in a dry place. I like to use a fine-mesh onion bag for such offerings. Things not to offer include dryer lint, cotton balls, and strips of paper, all of which retain moisture, which can affect thermoregulation in the nest.

As for finding enlightenment, cutting off your mullet is a great start down that path.



About Birdsquatch

Birdsquatch is WBB's tall, hairy, and slightly stinky columnist. He is a bigfoot who has watched birds all his life. His home range is unknown.

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  • That doesn't address my concern about the bird houses. I'm on a tiny piece of property (40x100) so there's not much room to plant a heck of a lot or places birds could put nests once the bird houses are gone.
    by Linda DiPierro, Mon, 25 May 2020
  • Plant some native plants in your yard that will attract pollinators and produce berries and nuts. There should be a local society that has a list of recommended plants, shrubs, and trees.
    by Ladylanita, Mon, 25 May 2020
  • Same concerns here. See above post. For your situation I would consider planting a few native plants that will naturally produce berries and seeds that the birds in your area need to survive. Try planting some that will yield foods for all seasons.
    by Ladylanita, Mon, 25 May 2020
  • I've thought about this myself. One thing I considered doing is leaving behind some bird food and a gift card to my local wild bird store with a note asking the new homeowners to please continue feeding the birds. Don't know how well that work but it's worth a try.
    by Ladylanita, Mon, 25 May 2020
  • thanks for the article. I believe that I may have spotted my first hairy woodpecker this morning. we see the downy woodpecker often. it's small. the hairy woodpecker, when compared with the downy, is HUGE. also, the downy feeds at the feeder like most birds--standing upright. This bird, because of its size, hung from the feeder perch with most of it's body below the feeder--like the red belly woodpeckers that we see often. we live is strasburg va. is it possible that we saw a hairy woodpecker this morning?
    by PEretired, Sat, 23 May 2020