How to Make a Homemade Nest for Baby Birds

Updated November 21, 2016

If you have found a baby bird or birds who have fallen from their nest and you cannot reach the nest, or if their nest has been destroyed in a storm or because their tree was cut down, you can help the birds by making them a new nest. Work quickly and stay calm, and your wild feathered friends will be back in their element in no time.

Place baby birds in a warm, quiet, safe spot until you can build a new nest. A small box lined with paper towel works fine.

Thoroughly clean and dry a margarine tub.

Using a pen or pocket knife, poke several drainage holes in the bottom of the margarine tub. Some wildlife rehabilitators recommend using a hot nail to burn holes so there are no ragged edges.

Line the nest. Some rehabilitators argue that you should use parts of the original nest if possible, while others say that the nest harbours parasites. Some swear by grass and leaves, while others say these substances may get mouldy. Some argue for tissue, dryer lint, or even leaving the tub bare. However, keeping baby birds on a flat surface may cause "splay leg," a muscular deformity from the babies' feet having nothing to grip and work the muscles. Clean twigs topped with dried grass is one often agreed-upon method.

Secure the nest in a shaded area of a tree as close as possible to where the old nest was located. Use twine or duct tape to bind the nest to the tree trunk or a sturdy branch.

Place the baby birds in their new nest. Ideally, the parent birds should see you do this.

Observe from a distance. If the parents do not return to the nest after two hours, call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.


It is not true that a parent will reject a baby bird touched by humans.


Do not try to feed a baby bird.

Things You'll Need

  • Box lined with paper towel
  • Clean margarine tub
  • Pen or hot nail
  • Twigs and dried grass
  • Twine or duct tape
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