Name: D. C.
Date: Tuesday, May 07, 2002
After a bird and the babies have left a nest...how do you
preserve/clean the nest so that it may displayed inside my home without
fear of pests?
How long should I wait to take the nest after the babies have left the nest?
This is a tough question to answer for two reasons; 1) Since many years ago,
I had a Federal permit to study birds, and even with a license, i never would
take a nest, this means it is illegal, 2) several birds will return to the same
nest for raising an additional brood or two in a season. Therefore, I would not
recommend taking any nest. If you do because you live outside the US, wait until fall.
Most nests are fragile so cleaning them will probably destroy them.
Some cultures will cook a bird's nest as part of soup ingredients.
Since we do not know where you are located, if this is your intent, boil it well!
IT IS ILLEGAL TO COLLECT NESTS, EGGS, FEATHERS OR ANY OTHER PARTS OF BIRDS
WITHOUT A SPECIAL PERMIT FROM THE U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE.
Even though you may be sure the birds have left the nest, and it is true
that most small birds do not re-use old nests, this is a blanket provision
of the International Migratory Bird laws and treaties, to protect all native
birds from collecting. The prohibition on collecting nests comes from the
practice once very popular of collecting nests with eggs still in them for
private "museums." While this is no longer a common practice there is still
a danger of collecting that will harm bird populations.
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Update: June 2012