Thanks big time to all of the “spring helpers” who made seed balls and nesting bags on Easter weekend. These will help make spring just a little easier for wildlife, and more colourful for people. See our photo gallery for pictures of the crafting process. Below are some tips for making your own…
Seed balls (or bombs, depending on your attitude):
1. Mix 2 parts potting soil, 5 parts pottery clay mix, and 1 – 2 parts water in a large bowl with a large, strong wooden spoon. For the water, add 1 part and then add more in small amount to make sure you get a nice consistency (it should be like Play Dough/plasticine). If it gets to wet, just add a little more clay.
2. Add 1 – 2 parts wildflower seeds. Ideally, these seeds should be native species to your area, or less ideally, species that will grown in your region.
3. Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls. You could even make shapes, as long as they are not more than 1 inch thick (you need them to be able to dry all the way through).
4. Dry seed balls for 24-48 hours in a shady place before sowing or storing. They store best in a cardboard box. Do not use plastic bags.
5. Gently place, or throw, seed balls somewhere that could use a little wilding. Don’t bury them and don’t water them – they have all they need. Go back and check on them one day and enjoy your little contribution to the natural world!
Tips for making nesting bags:
Most birds build some kind of nest for their eggs and young. Some are very simple – like just a scratched area in the ground, or some are very complex, like the nests of weaver birds or bower birds. Woven nests provide warmth and dryness, as much as possible for eggs and young. So, nesting materials that help insulated and cushion young, and can dry out well, are the best.
You can help provide birds with nesting material through making and hanging a nesting material bag. You can use a mesh plastic bag (the kind onion come in) or a suet feeding to put your materials in. Add only natural materials to your bag, like scraps of yarn, wool, or silk. Don’t add anything that has been treated with pesticides, fungicides, or other toxic chemicals. Also don’t add fishing line. For items like string and yarn, keep the pieces between 3 – 8 inches longer (shorter is not as attractive, longer can get tangled). Some natural materials you might add are: twigs or sticks, dead leaves, grass clippings or dead grass, human hair or animal fur, feathers, Cattail fluff, moss or lichens, pine needles, spider web silk, straw or other plant stems.
Hang your bag in a tree in a somewhat sheltered spot, but hopefully somewhere where you can still see it. The bag can get wet and will dry out, but birds are more attracted to dry material. Make sure the bag is in a location that cats can’t reach!