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

Hal Michael ucd880 at comcast.net
Sun Apr 9 15:03:13 PDT 2017

We use pet fur, dryer lint, it all seems to work. They naturally collect fur and some of it, like horse-hair, is quite long.

Hal Michael
Science Outreach Director, Sustainable Fisheries Foundation
Olympia WA
360-791-7702 (C)
ucd880 at comcast.net

----- Original Message -----

Hi Tweets,

This morning I came upon this little Black-capped Chickadee stuffing its beak with dog fur 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 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 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

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