Putting up bird houses is a great way to bring nesting birds into your yard. And it helps the birds by providing nesting spots that are sometimes difficult for birds to find, especially if there is a lot of competition for those spots in the area.

Some birds nest in cavities, such as old woodpecker holes in trees or in natural cavities caused by broken-off branches. These are the birds that will also use a nesting box or bird house. But many other birds build open-cupped nests in the branches of a tree or shrub, or build specialized nests such as the hanging bag-like nest the orioles make.

No matter what types nests your birds build,  almost all of them use soft materials that dry quickly to line their nests. You can help all your birds by providing natural cotton fibers, pieces of thread or yarn, feathers, aspen fibers, or even Spanish moss. Birds will also use fresh green moss as well as string, animal hair and pine needles in their nests.

Provide nesting materials for your birds. You can simply hang a mesh produce bag of natural cotton fibers from a branch. Or you can use a hanging nesting basket filled with cotton and then refill it with cotton or other nesting materials such as aspen fibers and Spanish moss. Use grapevine balls filled with cotton. These are also refillable! An unused suet feeder also makes a great nesting materials holder.

You’ll love watching the birds come and go as they pull out tufts of materials to carry back to their nesting site. And by offering the proper materials that provide the softest lining, the best insulation, and the driest nests, you’ll be ensuring that your baby birds have the best chance at survival. And next year these same babies will return to build nests of their own in your backyard!