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Nature Architects: Nest Building

Nature Architects: Nest Building

Home » Family Activities » Nature Architects: Nest Building

Explore the incredible world of bird’s nests and have a go at making your own with a variety of readily accessible natural materials.

Hooray! Trees are filling out with young leaves, flower buds are bursting into life and days are longer, lighter and warmer (if we’re lucky).

Another, perhaps more secretive sign of this lively time of year is nest activity. After being carefully incubated and then reared by dedicated parents into healthy, strong chicks our garden birds are getting ready to fledge (leave the next). Birds instinctively know how to build the perfect nest to protect their eggs and chicks from weather and predators. Using natural materials, do you think you could have a go? I bet it’s not as easy as they make it look.


Any natural materials you can find such as:

  • Twigs
  • Leaves
  • Dry grasses
  • Moss
  • Feathers


1. Start at the bottom

Take a bundle of dry grasses, straw or very thin sticks, make a loop, then weave in the ends to create a round nest-like shape. Always check twig and sticks before you pick them up in case they have thorns!

2. Build it up

Start small and keep adding twigs, sticks and leaves, threading them through so that the materials twist and intertwine with each other. Weave in longer grasses to hold the twigs together and help to make the nest water-resistant.

3. Make it cosy

When you have created a tight bowl-like shape it’s time to line your nest and make it cosy. A lining of moss, small leaves and feathers make your nest comfortable for the parent birds to incubate their eggs and will make a cosy home for the vulnerable chicks when they hatch.

4. Site your nest

Birds build their nests in a variety of places. Some are open and easy to enter into, some are secretive and hidden, some are high off the ground and some like to nest on the ground. Choose a spot in your house or garden to display your nest.

If your nest was going to be used by a bird think about shelter from wind and rain and protection from predators. How about slotted in between books on a high shelf or sitting above a cupboard? Don’t climb up – get an adult to do the reaching for you!

5. Build like a different bird

Different bird species build different types of nest. Have a look below at some examples and see if you can copy their nature designs.

6. Wash your hands

It’s always good practice to wash your hands after you’ve been in nature.

7. Share your nests

We would love to see your nest designs. To share your pictures of your nest, post on CAT’s facebook page or tag @centreforalternativetechnology on instagram. #CATatHome

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