Once the leaves have fallen from the trees, you can see where many birds have cleverly positioned their nests. Most birds construct new nests every spring, so you are free to take down any you find. Just be careful high up in trees!
It is best to wear leather gloves when handling abandoned birds’ nests. They will guard against the bites of any insects which may be living in the nest. You may also discover that a larger animal, such as a mouse, has moved in! (In that case, leave the nest there).
Place the nest in a plastic bag with a couple of mothballs, and leave it for a few days. The insects will crawl out and die.
Do you know what kinds of birds lived in the nests? Even if you didn’t see the birds when they were living in the nests, you may be able to find out. Check in one of the bird identification guides that includes pictures and descriptions of typical birds’ nests.
[Image: Courtesy of Mike Crowley; available for sale at his website Life in the Northwoods]