Would you like to help orphaned baby birds and other wildlife and you know how to knit? Then this is the perfect do-it-yourself volunteer project for you! You can make soft, warm, knitted nests for orphaned baby birds and injured wildlife from the comfort of your own home. When orphaned/injured birds and other wildlife are brought into rescues, they need to be kept warm in a soft place, preferably in something that resembles their nests in the wild. These DIY knitted nests are quick to make and will help orphaned and injured animals recover. It’s true, your knitted nests will be warm and cozy, but did you know that a secure nest also helps ensure that the baby’s legs grow properly?
Volunteer from the comfort of your own home and make a big difference by knitting nests. Every nest you donate helps save a baby animal’s life.
- Washable yarn in any weight, earth tones preferred
- A set of double-pointed needles. Any size between 5 and 9 can work depending on the weight of the yarn.
- Acrylic or cotton yarn works best and is inexpensive.
- The yarn MUST be washable please.
- To prevent tiny legs and feet from getting caught in the nest, avoid using fuzzy yarn.
- Please be sure that the nest is knitted tightly. Using two or three strands of yarn knitted together will help the nest maintain its form and ensure a tight knit.
- Earth-tone colored yarn to resemble the color of natural nests is preferred but any color works.
- There is a need for all sizes of nests. Cast on more stitches for larger nests and fewer stitches for smaller nests.
These nests are easy to make and all sizes of nests are needed. There are plenty of nest crochet patterns online. Choose one that works best for you or you can follow our pattern instructions below. The key is to make the stitches as tight as possible so that the claws and nails of the babies don’t get caught in the finished nest. Pattern courtesy of Dane County Humane Society’s Wildlife Center for nests measuring approximately 4 inches in diameter.
- Using 2 or 3 strands of yarn, cast on 54 stitches. Divide evenly on 4 double-pointed needles.
- Join ends in the round and work in stockinette (knit every round) until the nest is approximately 3 inches tall.
- Purl one row. This row is very important to separate the sides from the bottom of the nest and to make the nest stable enough to stand up when a baby is placed inside.
- Row 1) knit 7 (K7), knit 2 together (K2tog), repeat to the end.
- Row 2) K6, K2tog, repeat to the end.
- Row 3) K5, K2tog, repeat to the end.
- Row 4) K4, K2tog, repeat to the end.
- Row 5) K3, K2tog, repeat to the end.
- Row 6) K2, K2tog, repeat to the end.
- Row 7) K1, K2tog, repeat to the end.
- Leave a 6-inch tail and cut yarn. Slide yarn on needle, pass though hoops and draw tight to close end.
Where to donate:
Contact your local wildlife rescue organizations to see if they have a need for your nests. You can also mail your nests to the following nonprofit organizations who need nests immediately:
In the United States:
- Dane County Humane Society’s Wildlife Center, 5132 Voges Rd., Madison, WI 53718
- Carolina Waterfowl Rescue Group, PO Box 1484, Indian Trail, NC 28079
- Small Acts Big Change, PO Box 1374, La Canada, CA 91012
- Wild Wishlist, PO Box 1211, Skylar, NC 28776
- Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, c/o Lee Pirini, Locked Bag 3000, Archerfield BH 4108, Queensland Australia
Thank you for making a difference from home! <3