[Tweeters] Pet fur for nest material: yea or nay?

Tucker, Trileigh TRI at seattleu.edu
Sun Apr 9 14:50:49 PDT 2017

Hi Tweets,

This morning I came upon this little Black-capped Chickadee stuffing its beak with dog fur <https://www.flickr.com/photos/trileigh/33810749771/in/dateposted/> that someone had left on the ground in Lincoln Park, presumably as a generous gesture to our avian neighbors.

What’s the current scientific consensus (if there is one) on whether pet fur is OK for this purpose? This Cornell Lab page<https://www.allaboutbirds.org/providing-nest-material-for-birds-dos-donts/> doesn’t mention the fur issue in the main article, but in the comments a Cornell staffer says she had heard of one rehabilitator who said she’d seen canid fur tangled around a bird’s leg. (Intuitively, it would make sense not to offer fur from pets treated with chemicals for pests.)

Although of course I want to do what’s best for the birds, one unconfirmed story about one bird doesn’t seem like a strong basis for prohibiting offering pet fur. The National Wildlife Federation's blog<http://blog.nwf.org/2014/04/how-to-offer-bird-nesting-materials-in-your-garden/> encourages the use of dog fur.

But I’m betting that in Tweeterland, someone with real expertise might weigh in. If it turns out that pet fur is after all a no-no, I’d like to alert our neighborhood news media so they can inform well-meaning fur donors.


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Trileigh Tucker
Pelly Valley, West Seattle
Natural Presence Arts website<https://naturalpresencearts.com/>

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