Nature Nut

We profited from unusually warm temperatures last weekend to break out a gift I bought for the family on Etsy before Christmas: a Backyard Bird Nest Experiment Kit from the TheNatureNut. In the last two weeks, we’ve seen and heard robins and  chickadees (and a red-chested bird I can’t identify) around our tree again, so this seemed like a great time to pull it out. I didn’t have to ask my son twice if he wanted to help hang them from the branches of our cherry tree; he was straddling a limb before I had found my shoes.

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The handmade kit comes with four wire cages stuffed with different materials: straw, shredded colored paper, yarn and dog hair; there is an experiment observation sheet where we record the nesting material, staring date, empty date and comments, as well as a second observation sheet for recording the types of birds inspecting or taking the materials. In addition, Kathleen provides information about ways to attract birds to your yard, suggested nesting materials, resources and instructions for recording and tabulating the results of the experiment. Children are encouraged to monitor the cages to see which material is used more than the others, and to look around the neighborhood for nests built with our stuffing.

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Browsing through her shop on a rainy November day, I couldn’t resist adding these maple seed butterflies to my shopping cart. They seemed full of promise for spring.

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Cleverly packaged with a styrofoam block and recycled water bottles turned upside down to provide a protective casing, these little butterflies sat on our windowsill for months waiting for the weather to turn. Now they sit in our garden as a sweet reminder that the real butterflies will be out soon enough.

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5 Responses to “Nature Nut”


  1. 1 Carrie Thursday, March 13, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    Oh my goodness, thanks for the link for the bird stuff! That sounds wonderful. We don’t have many birds but the few we do have look like they could use a little help 🙂

  2. 2 sarah Friday, March 14, 2008 at 3:09 am

    I’ve been planning on doing something like this. I hadn’t thought of putting all the yarn into a cage, just spread about on branches.

  3. 3 Stacy Saturday, March 15, 2008 at 8:08 am

    Great idea!

    Could the red-breasted bird be the Purple Finch (bit of a misnomer).

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purple_Finch

    Or look up pics on Google.

  4. 4 kayce Sunday, March 16, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    Thanks for this link! I just ordered one. We don’t have trees (new housing development), but I’m going to give it to my son’s class. I think they’ll have fun and I’d love to have something to ask my son about everyday.

  5. 5 Josiane Wednesday, March 19, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    That is such a neat idea! And how cool that the seller is from here! Thanks for mentioning it, it will make a wonderful gift for my nephews.


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