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Felted

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Birds vary enormously in the nests they make and the materials they use. Among those that use fibres and fibrous materials such as grass for nesting, many tend to weave the nests, but even nests that initially are purely woven, such as those of weaver birds, later are lined with downy materials that largely become felted, both with each other and with the surrounding nest material. Similarly birds such as sparrows, that build large, twiggy nests, line them with downy material. Many kinds of birds however do little weaving in building their nests, but instead construct their nests mainly of fibrous and downy materials such as fine wool, moss, lichen, spiders' nests, tufts of cotton, arachnoid fluff from plants, or bark scales, supported by twigs or the walls of burrows and the like, depending on the circumstances within which they nest. James Rennie remarked: "A circumstance also never neglected, is to bind the nest firmly into the forks of the bush where it is placed, by twining bands of moss, felted with wool, round all the contiguous branches, both below and at the sides. During the nesting season such birds commonly become such avid seekers of suitable materials that down feathers or tufts of wool may be used as bait for trapping them. Birds that concentrate heavily on felted nests include goldfinches (Carduelis species) and related species. Hummingbirds tend to use a lot of spiderweb together with moss and similar material. Small warbler-like birds of many genera such as Prinia and Cisticola make their nests either heavily lined with, or entirely of felted material. Ground nesting birds often use felted material rather than woven; it usually suffices and some of the structures can be deceptively sophisticated. For example, the common eider, famous for the valuable down harvested from its abandoned nests, lays its eggs in very lightly felted bowls of its own down; simple though this seems, the thick, soft layer provides exceptional insulation.

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