Encourage birds to not just visit but live in your garden by offering food (bird feeder), fresh water (bird bath) a nest box or two, and nesting material.
I'm getting ready for springtime, the nest-building time for the birds in Myrtle Glen, by offering combed-out soft fur from Sam, our German Shepherd Dog.
I like this seed cake feeder box I got at the pet store
gave Sam a good brushing and stuffed the fur in the box
hang it up and hopefully the birds will use it to line their nests to be soft and cushioned for their babies.
Besides with dog hair, you may fill the nesting basket with human hair, wool/yarn pieces cut in short segments (about 4 to 5 inches long), thin strips of cloth, some shredded paper not heavily dyed and cotton balls, just to name a few.
|ready for the birds|
Nesting material is naturally available in the yard such as twigs and sticks, leaves, grass clippings, moss, lichen, dried plumes on the ornamental grasses, but if not, collect those and lay them out for your birds.
|grow cotton for the birds ;)|
Please note: I would not offer the dog hair if the dog had a flea treatment. I also won't use dryer lint, or anything plastic.
Added March 2012:
Here you see a simple offering of different colored knitting yarn in a feeder basket (in my Mom's garden). She hangs it close to the bird houses, single- and multi-family homes with furniture close by ;)