Yarn Is Not For the Birds…

Yarn Bird Nests
Yarn Bird Nests
Yarn Bird Nests

Yarn is Not For the Birds

A highly controversial practice is leaving yarn out for the birds to gather to assist building their nests. Some yarn users save their tails and put them outside where birds can gather them up when building their nests. Ultimately, I leave it to your discretion on what you do but I want you to think about a few things.

  1. Birds have been around and nesting most likely before the dawn of what we call humanity.
  2. Yarns many of us use today are acrylic or poly blends. Where fibres have been washed, dyed and made from materials invented by the human species.
  3. While it is natural for a bird to see something that catches their interest to gather or collect. We humans also need to do our part to ensure that birds stay being birds and gather the natural materials that they should be. Whether it’s grasses, sticks, mud and etc.

The Dangers of Yarn

  1. Yarn inside a bird nest can rot the eggs and also kill the baby birds through hyperthermia. Think about it, wet a strand of yarn and leave it out. See how long it takes for that fiber to completely dry. While natural materials in a nest made up fo twigs, grasses and mud will get wet when it rains, the water naturally escapes within a quick time frame keeping the nest relatively dry.
  2. A baby bird can get tangled into the yarn and it’s unnatural. Think about how much effort it takes to break a strand of yarn. A baby has no hope.
  3. A mother bird going to and from the nest while it’s raining can expose the nest to water. The water in the fibers just hangs onto the yarn. It’s like us humans going to take a swim with our jeans on and leaving the jeans on until they fully dry. We will become cold and uncomfortable. Our skin will shrivel and we could likely get sick.
  4. Baby birds can pick at the yarn inside the nest and even swallow it. If they swallow grass or twigs, it’s a natural substance, yarn isn’t and can stay within the gut of a creature.

Most nests that birds do are our of sight of human eyes. So letting a bird take your yarn to make your nest is for whose benefit anyway? Birds are not about home decor of having the nest stand out. They want their nests to blend in with the environment to make them harder to see by predators.

Ultimately The Decision is Yours

Here in Nova Scotia, we are surrounded by so many species of birds such as Eagles, Falcons, Owls, regular tree birds and other critters like Chipmunks, Squirrels, Raccoons, Woodland Mice and even one Ringneck Pheasant that has chosen our property to live on.

Think about the creatures that surround you. Us humans are so used to surrounding ourselves with artificial things that we forget about what is natural to us. We have to let the wildlife be wildlife without too much human intervention. You may accidentally be killing creatures that you may have never seen that live within your region. Just something to think about.


  1. sheila

    I have many birds that prefer my home for some reason. Looking at their nest, I have seen fish line, string, long grasses, etc. Robins have a “dirt” cup that moulds the inside of their nest. We have lost at least half the hatches to wind, cats, and just not thriving. The yarn thieves are “my” squirrels will use odd things and think they like the fluffy.

  2. Sue McVicker

    No Blue Button

  3. joan Rafferty

    Wow I didn’t realize it was dangerous for the babies I was thinking it would be nice and warm in the nest I won’t be leaving any more out I will just stick to bird seed ?

  4. Kristen Romond

    My mom also had us put our hair trimmings out for the birds. Occasionally we could put out premade chains. so I have kept the tradition of trimming my kiddos hair out side and putting the clippings out for the birds.

  5. AE Corral

    Thanks for the advice. I’ve left yarn out for birds before – natural hand-spun yarns dyed with natural substances I’ve picked up at a yarn expo as well as cotton yarn from the store – but never considered that it could harm the babies, especially the manufactured dyes. Guess I stick to cat fur and bird seed. Yes, birds around here like to “dive bomb” cats and pull out some of their fur for their nests. I’ve left out the cat and dog fur after brushing (unwadded) and the birds seem to love it!

  6. Pamela

    Even though I have only ever put my 100% organic wool ends and scraps out for the birds I never thought it them not drying. We won’t be doing it any more. Thanks you for the insight.

  7. Daisy Dianne Bromlow

    I thought Everyone knew that ! Thanks for posting that for those that don’t know – if you think about it , it’s just common sense . Didn’t know you are in Nova Scotia – would love to visit that country . Love your videos !

  8. Carol Houghton

    Hi Mikey,
    An excellent article. I didn’t realise that you were still around as I haven’t seen any notifications from The Crochet Crowd in ages.

  9. Jennie Byrum

    Thank you Mikey for this helpful and insightful info. I didn’t think of all those things. Poor helpless little creatures, we just don’t think deeply enough! I am very glad to have been informed!!

  10. Jana

    This is just wonderful Mikey! I am so with you on this. I am going to share this on FB if that’s ok with you.
    You laid it out perfectly!

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