Thursday, March 23, 2017

How To Preserve a Bird's Nest

Disclaimer:  If you do see a bird's nest in your yard or near your home, I would suggest waiting as long as possible to be sure that you won't disturb nature.  In all of my research for this project I learned that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act actually makes it illegal to disturb a nest of any native bird without a permit and that it is illegal to move or remove active nests, even if they are in an inconvenient location.  However, after you are sure it is safe to remove a nest without causing harm, if you want to preserve the nest, I've done all the research of how to do that properly!  

Yesterday I shared some of my Spring and Easter decor, including my new additions this year.  I'm so pleased with the way the birdcage turned out and I turned to my favorite design friend, Pinterest, with tips on how to style it. 

I ultimately decided I wanted to try to put a real bird's nest in it.  Over a year ago a bird built a nest on our front porch and I just loved walking out my front door each day and peeking at the nest with her sitting on it waiting for her eggs to hatch.  All of the sudden one day she was gone and I was hoping to find signs that the eggs had hatched, but she just kind of vanished and there were never any signs of babies.  I'm not sure if my noisy kids were too much for her or if it was just such a high-traffic area that she decided to abandon ship and build a nest somewhere else.  Or, for all I know, maybe her babies left the nest after they hatched and I just didn't notice.  I guess we'll never know.  What I do know is that the nest sat there for over a year and while I was always curious, I didn't want to disturb it in case she or any other birds ever came back to this spot.

I did a little reading about nests and birds and learned that sometimes other birds will come and use a nest that has already been built.  Because of this I left it on our porch for a really long time, but after over a year I decided it was safe to move it because no birds were coming.  I was actually really scared to touch and move it. I don't really do nature and I guess I was kind of afraid of what I would see in the nest.  Much to my surprise, when I went to take it down the thing was stuck up there.  Like literally stuck to the top of the column with mud.  Those birds are so dang smart.  In all of my research I learned it takes about 180 trips per day for anywhere from 2-6 days to gather materials and build the nest.  When I finally got it down I examined it and was in awe of the construction of the nest.

I read that you should put it in a large plastic bag and then put it in the freezer for several days or up to week to kill any bugs or other tiny living things that might be living in the nest.  I also read that these things usually leave shortly after a bird leaves and since my nest had been sitting here for so long I thought it might be OK, but it couldn't hurt to freeze it for a while.

Next I sprayed it with a clear coat spray paint to sort of seal it and let it dry in the sun for a few hours. 

Then my nest was ready to put into the birdcage.  However, the color of the nest was pretty similar to the color of the bird cage so I used a faux boxwood stem on the bottom of the birdcage to really make the nest noticeable.

I'm so happy with the way this project turned out and I just love the special touch of spring that this adds to our porch!  I also love that this nest was home to a bird (and maybe her babies) for a few weeks and that now it is a part of my home.  

 photo cbsignature.jpg

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  1. I loved this! I had a sparrow to build a nest in my front door wreath, five eggs were laid. We did not use the front door for two weeks. We loved the step ladder we put inside our front door and watched the momma bird as she sat on the eggs. Last Saturday, she left and never came back. Sadness, because, we loved standing on the ladder, peeking through the small window of our front door and have watched the momma bird feed her babies. Love God's nature! I will leave the nest alone, but know without the momma bird, the tiny eggs will not hatch. I would, in the future, like to preserve this nest. My question, can the eggs be preserved as well?

  2. I have a bird nest with eggs in my wreath at my front door that has been abandoned for a month. I want to preserve it just as it is, should I bag and freeze it To kill any bugs and then clear spray it? I don't think I can bring myself to try and empty the contence.

  3. I had a birds nest on top of my beams under the deck of the girl who lived in the apartment above us. I waited until the babies were gone. After reading about robins, they never return to the same nest. Worried that a bad bird might take over the nest, I removed it, and let it dry out in the garage, and then sprayed it with Lysol to kill any bacteria. I kept the nest and have not had any issues. It looks cute in my bird house planter. Now I have a new nest a bird made in my hanging planter, and I will have to find a new home for that one when the time is right.

  4. It’s truly beautiful! I found an old Robins nest and was curious how to preserve it so thank you for sharing how to!

  5. I have 2 nests a robin that raised the 3 baby's and a Rena nest that has 3 eggs in it for over 2 months.
    No more mom is it okay to treat the eggs in the nest after its in the freezer or should I put fake eggs in it?

    1. I just found a empty bird nest after a strom so I need to put it in the freezer for a few days

    2. You should leave the robins nest. They will reuse, especially if they successfully raised three fledglings.

  6. Do you think this would work with a Hummingbird nest? It is so soft, not made with little wood twigs. Has the moss/lichen, and alot of "fluff" I kind of worry about the plastic spray on it?
    Didn't even think of the Freezing in a bag!!!! huge thank you for that tip!

    1. Hummingbirds reuse their nests. Could b wrong, please check b4 disturbiing.

  7. I want to preserve a hummingbird nest for display along with an artificial bird. I want a spray that will dry hard because it is so delicate and I want to keep it. Will this method work?

  8. Thanks for the information.
    I had a similar experience. The robins built a nest over my patio light, near my sliding door. There were eggs in it (I used a mirror to see,) after a week or so the nest was empty. I did not disturb it in case they returned.
    Nature is amazing. The construction of the nest is amazing.

  9. I have two pairs of Robin's that reuse the same nests every year.

  10. I have a nest inside my back porch light (it is missing its top) with 4 eggs in it. This is since the end of June when I first noticed it. Not too thrilled this nest being re-used as it sits on top of the lightbulb inside. What should I do with the nest and eggs? Clearly, enough time has passed to indicate the eggs won't hatch.


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