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Knitters Purl One For Orphan Fledglings

In the spring, West Sound Wildlife on Bainbridge Island, WA, receives numerous fledglings who have fallen out of nests or have been separated from their parents.

The baby birds get popped into fake “nests” – like the berry basket style shown here – that are perfectly sound but maybe not as cozy as their original nest.

So this year, the group put out a call to knitters for a soft solution using a knitting pattern created by Barbara Johnson. They’ve already received dozens of washable, cozy beds for the babies

These yarn nests work well not only for birds but also for many small baby animals received at the shelter, such as raccoon kits, reports Elsa Watson, Development Coordinator, West Sound Wildlife Shelter.

Knitters can check with their local wildlife rescue to see if they could use some nests or send them to West Sound Wildlife, 7501 NE Dolphin Drive, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 for their baby patients.

Photo of baby bird by Dottie Tison.


Bird Nest Knitting Pattern

Bird Nest PatternCourtesy of Barbara Johnson, friend of Native Songbird Care and Conservation.

Using 2 strands of yarn, cast on 54 stitches, then divide evenly among 4 dpns.

Work in stockinette (all K stitches) until the nest is approximately 3” tall.

Purl one row, then start to decrease:
Row 1) K7, K2tog - repeat to end
Row 2) K6, K2tog - repeat to end
Row 3) K5, K2tog - repeat to end
Row 4) K4, K2tog - repeat to end
Row 5) K3, K2tog - repeat to end
Row 6) K2, K2tog - repeat to end
Row 7) K1, K2tog - repeat to end

See tip #4 below to determine if you want to continue in this pattern for one more row. Cut yarns, leaving a 6” tail. Slide yarn on needle, draw tight to close up end (put a few stitches across the gap if need be.) Weave in yarn and cut off.

Tips and Notes:

1. To make sure the nest is tight and washable, use two strands of washable yarn (using two different colors to make counting stitches easier).

2. Use three strands if the yarn is very fine.Use double pointed needs - just about any size from 5 through 9, depending on the weight of the yarn. (You can use circular needles if you prefer.)

3. When doing K2tog, it seems to be easier to knit through the back loops rather than the front. If you’re still having problems with K2tog, try using a crochet hook to pull the yarn through.

4. Only decrease to the point where you have a small, easily closed gap in the bottom of the nest; otherwise there can be a bump on the bottom that can make the nest unstable.

5. Directions given are for nests that are about 4” across. Cast on fewer stitches for smaller nests. They knit up so quickly, it’s easy to experiment. (If the nest is much smaller, start the decrease with K6, K2tog.)

6. The yarn should not be fuzzy, so toes don’t get caught.


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