Frequently Asked Questions

bird print bullet point spacer2.gif  How do I knit or craft a nest?
bird print bullet point   What will happen after I send you my nest?
bird print bullet point   Why do you need so many nests?
bird print bullet point   Wait a minute, I thought you said these were going to be washed? Why do you want wool nests?
bird print bullet point
  Why do you need such big nests? I thought baby birds were tiny.
bird print bullet point   What happens if my nest isn’t exactly the size recommended?
bird print bullet point   What happens if my nest is not tightly knitted or crocheted or if it doesn't meet other specifications outlined in the patterns?
bird print bullet point
  Can I make a nest out of cotton, acrylic or other fabric that doesn’t full?
bird print bullet point   I read somewhere that the yarn needs to be a dull color not bright? Why don’t you mention that?
bird print bullet point   My students want to send you nests but they’re skills aren’t up to knitting so tightly. Can they make nests?
bird print bullet point   Will I start receiving junk mail from WildCare or from the facility that receives my nest?
bird print bullet point   Can I get a photo of baby birds in my nest?
bird print bullet point   I'm a licensed bird rehabilitator. How can I join the project and start receiving nests?
bird print bullet point   What if I'm not a licensed wildlife rehabilitator? Can I still receive nests?
bird print bullet point   Is this like penguin sweaters? Do you really need nests or are you going to sell them for money?
bird print bullet point
  Why do you need more than one nest?
bird print bullet point   Why don’t you put the birds in a bird cage?
bird print bullet point   Why do you need so many nests at one time during the year?
bird print bullet point   I can't knit and I don't craft... How can I help baby birds?

How do I knit or craft a nest?

Click here to complete the form to receive our easy-to-follow knitting and crafting instructions for the nests we need.

What will happen after I send you my nest?

We’ll send you an email with:

bird print bullet points spacer2.gif A thank-you for your nests.
bird print bullet points   An in-kind donation receipt you can use for tax purposes.
bird print bullet points   An exclusive hi-res digital photo of one of our orphaned baby bird patients in a knitted or crafted nest.
You can use it as a wallpaper for your computer or phone!
bird print bullet points   A coupon code good for a 10% discount in our e-store good through the end of baby bird season.

You’ll also receive updates on our baby birds and other hospital patients. You can unsubscribe at any time, of course.

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Why do you need so many nests?

We supply nests to our own hospital, but also to bird rescue centers throughout the United States. Spring is baby bird season all over the country, and the need is great!

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Wait a minute, I thought you said these were going to be washed? Why do you want wool nests?

Fulled, sometimes called felted, wool nests are the best, say our bird rescue experts. The tight weave created by fulling the wool keeps birds from catching their feet, wings and beaks in the loops of yarn. Also, hard-fulled wool is shrink resistant, so it can be washed again and again. Learn how to full your nest in this video

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Why do you need such big nests? I thought baby birds were tiny.

Fledglings come in lots of different sizes and different birds have different numbers of babies at once. A tiny hummingbird nest needs to be 7cm in circumference and only 5cm deep, but five fledgling Western Scrub Jays need a nest that is 25cm across and 14cm tall. We really do need big nests. Our Birdroom staff and volunteers say, “We’ll take all you can give us.”

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What happens if my nest isn’t exactly the size recommended?

Send it in! Baby birds can’t measure. As long as it is tightly woven and meets the other specifications outlined below, we’ll use it.

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What happens if my nest is not tightly knit or crocheted or if it doesn't meet the other specifications outlined in the patterns?

Nests must meet the specifications outlined in the patterns to be safe and effective for the baby birds. Please make sure your nest is very tightly knit or crocheted. A loose weave risks snagging baby bird feet and toes.

Please make sure your nest is tall enough— at least 4" tall for medium and large nests, and 3" tall for the smallest nests. Although we do often place the nests inside small bowls, the most useful nests are sturdy enough to stand up by themselves.

Please do not use novelty yarn of any variety. Although color doesn't matter, yarns with metallic strands, "fun fur," or fuzzy yarns should not be used, as the baby birds may peck at and ingest loose, fuzzy or shiny strands.

All usable nests received will be placed in the hands of WildCare's Birdroom or another bird rescue facility, but nests that do not meet these specifications can be dangerous to these tiniest of patients. Nests deemed to not meet the requirements for bird health will be donated to another worthy nonprofit that accepts knitted goods.

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Can I make a nest out of cotton, acrylic or other fabric that doesn’t full?

Yes. And no. All the nests need to have a tight enough weave that little bird feet don’t get trapped in them. If you can knit or crochet tightly, and use a smooth yarn that won’t leave loops of loose yarn for the birds to get caught in, go for it. However please don’t use fun fur or other fuzzy or metallic yarn.

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I read somewhere that the yarn needs to be a dull color not bright? Why don’t you mention that?

Because it turns out the baby birds don’t care what color their nests are. Birdroom staff and volunteers have seen no differences between the use of brightly-colored nests and dull-colored ones. As long as the nest is tightly knit, the nestlings can thrive in it. 

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My students want to send you nests but their skills aren’t up to knitting so tightly. Can they make nests?

Unfortunately, baby bird nests must be tightly knit or crocheted to be useful. Loosely-knit nests are actually a hazard to our baby birds-- little legs and feet can get caught in the loops and cause injury. Have kids sew pouches instead, which can be used as additional warmth for nests of baby birds, or as woolen "caves" for cavity-nesting songbirds. Here is a great tutorial (watch it on YouTube) on using an old wool sweater to sew pouches. Kids can do this with a darning needle and thread. Have an adult full the pouches and send them in!

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Will I start receiving junk mail or email from WildCare or from the facility that receives my nest?

The Baby Bird Nest Campaign will send email updates about nests and stories about baby birds, but every one contains an unsubscribe link. You will also receive WildCare's regularly-scheduled eNews which features stories and videos of current patients in the Wildlife Hospital (also with unsubscribe links).

Your information will never be shared or traded, and if your nest goes to a bird rescue facility other than WildCare, that facility will not receive your information.

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Can I get a photo of baby birds in my nest?

Our certifications as a wildlife rehabilitation center, as well as our own principles, do not allow us to use hospital patients as photo models except in limited circumstances. Putting delicate baby birds in and out of nests for photo shoots all day would endanger their health and prognosis for subsequent release to the wild.

We do take photos of baby birds in knitted nests during their stay (and you may spot your nest in one of the shots!), but only as much as necessary to tell the story of a patient. We do our best to minimize human contact with all our wild animal patients to avoid acclimation.

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I'm a licensed bird rehabilitator. How can I join the project and start receiving nests?

Click here to fill out the form to be added to our list.

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What if I'm not a licensed wildlife rehabilitator? Can I still receive nests?

Sorry, only wildlife rehabilitation facilities with proper state licenses can join our campaign. Most states have very strict regulations for wildlife rehabilitators, and WildCare applauds these restrictions! Rearing orphaned baby birds is an incredibly time- and resource-consuming process. Because their metabolisms are so high, the smallest baby birds must be fed every 20 - 45 minutes from dawn until dusk, and missing feedings can lead to fatal metabolic problems for the growing birds. WildCare and other licensed wildlife rehabilitators have the resources, manpower and experience to raise baby birds to be healthy and releasable.

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Is this like penguin sweaters? Do you really need nests or are you going to sell them for money?

No, we really need nests. Our Birdroom manager at WildCare says that knitted and crafted nests are like towels in a nursery— they're constantly in use and constantly in and out of the laundry. One can never have too many! Our commitment is that every nest that meets the safety specifications for baby birds will go to a bird rescue facility.

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Why do you need more than one nest?

Because bird poop happens. Nests get very dirty over the course of a day in the Birdroom. Each baby bird must be fed approximately every 45 minutes from dawn till dusk. Although the nests are lined with tissue, they still get dirty from food and poop and need to be changed. When your baby birds need to be cleaned, you just put them into a new nest and put the old one into the dirty laundry basket.

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Why don’t you put the birds in a bird cage?

Since baby birds cannot fly they don’t need to be in a cage. Instead, they are placed in nests inside net-covered baskets. The nest provides the comfortable sitting spot for the babies, while the basket keeps them from tumbling off the table.

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Why do you need so many nests at one time during the year?

The biological cycle of many types of baby birds is such that the eggs are laid and hatched in the warm months of late spring and early summer. Some of these baby birds become orphaned for a variety of reasons: they fall out of trees, their mothers die, or their habitats get disturbed. 

There are hundreds of licensed bird rescue groups across the US that take in these baby birds when humans find them and rehabilitate them until they can be released back into the wild.

The months of April through August known as “baby bird season” in North American wildlife hospitals because there is such an influx of them.

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I can't knit or crochet and I don't craft... How can I help baby birds?

Please consider a donation to WildCare's "5 for 15" campaign! Each tiny baby bird in WildCare's Wildlife Hospital must be fed every 45 minutes from dawn to dusk. This averages out to 15 meals a day. It costs $5 to provide the nutritious mash for all those feeds. Make a donation in any increment of $5 to support the care and feeding of our orphaned baby songbirds! 

You can also show your support for baby birds with a cute T-shirt, a mug or a tote bag featuring WildCare's baby birds!
Visit WildCare's online store to purchase an adorable item as a gift or for yourself!

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