This time of year, birds instinctively put the materials at hand to good use. Here, the downy, gray catkins of pussy willow branches soften a densely woven nest, while dried grasses inside cushion fragile decorated eggs. A trail of feathers suggests that the winged occupant has just taken flight.
Create a base for the nest: Crisscross lengths of 24-gauge brown wire onto a 10-inch wire wreath form. (This doesn't need to be neat because it will be covered later.)
Cut branches into varying lengths (8 to 15 inches). Wire the end of one branch to the base of the wreath form. Bend it around the form's curve, wiring it in place 5 or 6 inches from the tip. (For a natural look, the loose end should stick out.) Repeat with the remaining branches, overlapping as you go.
Once the wreath form is covered, tuck dried grass into branches; wire shouldn't be necessary. (If the grasses are stiff, soak them in water until pliable, about 1 hour; pat dry.) Insert feathers among the grasses. Line the interior of the nest with additional grasses, and fill with decorated eggs.
Pussy Willow branches
24-gauge brown wire
10-inch wire wreath
To appear more natural, the nest should be a bit irregular -- use bits of branches to break up the circular form. You may want to cut some additional pieces of pussy willow to help achieve this. Choose fresh pussy willow branches, which will bend more easily than dried ones. You can find them, as well as the dried grasses you'll need, at garden centers or florist shops.