Every year, Carolina Waterfowl Rescue asks people to donate hand-knitted nests for the thousands of baby birds it cares for during nesting season.
But this year was unlike others. The organization’s March Facebook post went viral, and thousands of little hand-knitted nests came pouring into the center in Indian Trail, North Carolina, from all over — including Canada and Japan, according to CNN.
CWR is a wildlife rescue group that provides sanctuary, rescue and rehabilitation for “wildlife, farmed and exotic animals.” Every year, it provides care to over 1,000 birds, the group says.
This year, the center has received so many knitted nests that it has part of a storage unit dedicated to them, CNN reported.
But the staff wants people to keep them coming.
“We’re finding homes for them,” Jennifer Gordon, founder and director of the center, told CNN. “We started a program where we’re actually distributing the nests to other organizations. Other rescues that help other kinds of animals can put them to use; newborn kittens are using them, possums are using them for pouches.”
Carolina Waterfowl Rescue always needs knitted or crocheted nests, Southern Living reported.
These nests are important to the baby birds’ development. Without them, they’ll have splayed legs when they get older, according to Southern Living.
“Part of the function of the nest is to contain the babies so they can grow properly,” Gordon told CNN. “Anything that’s born from an egg will have soft bones. In a bird, the way that their body is structured, the nest puts their body in the position to support the legs. The legs have to be tucked under. If a baby bird is left on the ground, its legs sort of splay outward and that can cause problems.”
The donated nests usually come with handwritten notes for the staff, according to WCNC.
“We encourage that, if anyone does send in nests I mean tell us your story,” Bayleigh MacHaffie told the station. “Tell us how you found us. Tell us why you’re sending us nests. I mean we love to read those. It really makes it a personal experience.”