Leslie Monticone’s hand-knitted nest for baby birds before it was sent to Carolina Waterfowl Rescue. Photo by Leslie Monticone

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By Rita Thiel

The Carolina Waterfowl Rescue group has put out a request for knitted or crocheted nests to serve as housing for their rescued little birds.  

“We will get anywhere from 300 to 400 baby birds pass through here at a time,” Jennifer Gordon, executive director of CWR, said in an email. 

CWR, based outside Charlotte, in Union County, is a nonprofit focused on the rescue and rehabilitation of wild and domestic birds, farm animals and reptiles.

“Our director started out rehabilitating waterfowl and it just grew from there,” said Julie Brown, office manager and donations coordinator. “We have a joke around here that we are not Carolina Waterfowl Rescue but instead Carolina Whatever Rescue.”

An email by Cindy Hitchens, a homeowner on Ocracoke, brought the request to the attention of island knitters.

Leslie Monticone immediately knitted three nests (following the directions provided) and has sent them off to CWR.  

“A quick knit and good way to use up extra yarn,” she said in an email. “I’ve even put one in a bush outside my window.”

Like Monticone did, knitters should send their creations directly to CWR.

Once received, nests are lined with tissue and can be reused, depending on the severity of use by the birdies.

“Baby birds lift their tiny behinds up to go the bathroom and oftentimes this lands on the nest,” Brown said.  “After some repeated washings, nests do have to be thrown out if they start to fall apart.  How well they are made does play into the equation as well.  Three thousand baby songbirds will pass through here in the next four months and that’s a lot of babies and a lot of poop. Birds poop a lot.” 

From this year’s request so far, they have received over 400 knitted nests from all over the United States and some have come in from Europe.

Any overabundance of nests will be donated to other waterfowl or animal rescue groups to use. They have more requests from other rehabilitators for these nests than they have supplies. So knitters are welcome to continue to keep knitting or crocheting for the cause.

To knit or crochet nests for the rescue, please follow the pattern instructions below.  

Send all finished nests to: CWR, P.O. Box 1484, Indian Trail, N.C. 28079.

For other ways to help, visit  www.cwrescue.org.

Some of the knitted nests CWR has received for the thousands of baby birds they will rehabilitate this spring. Photo courtesy of CWR.

Knitted Artificial Bird Nest
On size 5 double-pointed needles, cast on 54 stitches using 2 or 3 strands of yarn so the nests are tightly knit and will stand up in a bowl shape on their own. (divide sts up into 18 sts/needle). Work in knit (stockinette is automatic on dpn’s) stitch for approximately 3 inches. Begin decreasing for the crown as follows:
Next row: *K 7, k 2 tog* repeat to end
Next row: *K 6, k 2 tog* repeat to end
Next row: *K 5, k 2 tog* repeat to end
Nest row: *K 4, k 2 tog* repeat to end
Next row: *K 3, k 2 tog* repeat to end
Next row: *K 2, k 2 tog* repeat to end
Next row: *K 1, k 2 tog* repeat to end
Clip off yarn leaving a tail of about 6 inches.
Using yarn needle, slide yarn needle under all stitches on needles, and draw tight to close up the end. Knot.
Make sure the nest can stand up in a bowl shape on its own.

For crocheting directions, visit this website.

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  1. Thanks for this link, Connie. I contacted CWR for the crochet instruction, which they did send to me. Bev’s link has some other rescues as well as CWR. I am going to share this info with my local library, who I know have knitters. One good benefit of social media!

    • Definitely, Marie! Share it around. Yeah, I, too, saw a host of other links on the Bev’s link.

  2. Great idea … gives me reason to try knitting again… I’m 70 years old and probably haven’t knitted in 50 years!

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