In your latest(lovely) magazine, under "five things to do" as nesting material you include hair from a hairbrush. A word of caution, two years ago a horrible thing happened to me, a blue tit strangled it'self trying to take a long human hair into the nest hole. It was one of my hairs and I felt awful about it. I think perhaps human hair is too strong. However they love the combings from my dogs and take it almost as soon as I put it out, so maybe that makes up a little.
isn't wild wonderful
I've left a comment for Mark Ward who edits the mag to have a look at your post.
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In reply to Alan.:
Thanks Alan I'd hate it to happen to anyone else.
I see in various places that fluff from tumble dryers is also acceptable but this surely would contain a fair number of human head hairs so I stopped collecting it & offering to birds!
My help to them is to chop up dried grass plants, always disappears in no time!
Happy New Year Min & Tony!
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In reply to WendyBartter:
Agree with you Min that human hair can cause birds to get tangled in it along with any longer strands of things like wool so I tend to only use natural moss which I put inside a fat-ball or fat-cake feeder.
Thanks for flagging this one up Min and to Alan for alerting Mark Ward, it is important for folk to be aware of what is considered suitable nesting materials.
There is a question I should like to raise myself and maybe one of the RSPB staff can answer .....
Are duck/goose feathers from household pillows safe to put out as nesting materials as I am reluctant to do so in case they have been treated with chemicals ? Only a thought but it's often hard to work out what is safe for nesting materials and I think we need clearer guidelines from RSPB on this issue.
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In reply to HAZY:
Never thought about it but I bet its does happen, I collect sheep’s wool from barbed wire fences and place little pieces around the garden and even my own hair seeing its not long.
In reply to James:
'Our' birds tear lumps out of the coco basket liners each nesting season. We actually buy extra ones now and pull them apart a bit, leaving them at various parts around the garden.
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James G said: I collect sheep’s wool from barbed wire fences
post edit: yes, the coco fibre hanging basket liners and also the fibre on my tree ferns are very popular with the birds who take it for nesting.
In reply to Paul A:
We have found quite a few Feral Pigeons with hair wrapped around their feet. This can often lead to loss of toes. Just an observation.
Unicum arbustum haud alit duos erithacos
(One bush does not shelter two Robins)
Zenodotus (3rd Century B.C.)
In reply to monkeycheese:
Hi, natural fibres are the best material, but it’s very rare for a bird to get entangled in it. If you use hair and are concerned, just chop it into smaller pieces before you put it out, or use an alternative nesting material. Although sheep’s wool and dog hair may have traces of flea and tick treatments, it wouldn’t be all of the hair and any residual chemicals shouldn’t cause any problems, as it would be in such small amounts. However, we don’t suggest using fluff from a tumble dryer, as there are small particles, which could affect the respiratory system of the bird, and the chemicals used in the wash and dryer are more intense. Some species, such as Pigeons will often search for food less than favourable places and can get entangled in various materials, both natural and manmade, and it’s impossible to remove every potential problem that a bird might come across.
In reply to Debs:
thanks for the helpful info Debs, it's good to be aware of any danger to birds using unnatural materials.
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