A little force of nature, weighing about 30 grams, makes wonders using vegetable fibers, grass, twigs and its personal skill. The Weaver bird, from the family Ploceidae, and its hanging nest were my first impression when I came to the South African Republic.
The hanging nests have their entrance and roof and usually this little bird, in addition to protect herself from predators, mostly Cape cobras, makes a long and vertical hall resembling a tunnel. Every nest is unique. They vary in size, building materials and the construction technique itself differs among birds from this family.
The masterpiece begins with the male who is in charge of making a reliable and authentic nest so that the female would be intrigued and accept his mating call. Actually, the skill of one male bird in making the perfect nest for future offspring is conclusive when the female is picking out the potential partner. In addition to that, this diligent bird’s first move is choosing a convenient place that he can turn into a home. I personally find it interesting when they build their nests above water.
The process begins with collecting the right material. The male bird uses beam grass to tie branches together. He tightens them in a knot using his legs to hold a small grass ring , and then he uses his beak to pull the other end, making a tighter knot which becomes the cornerstone that holds everything together. The next thing to build is the entrance. The male makes a round thin door, thin enough for this little bird to go in and out. The entrance faces either the water or the ground. He then continues with his weaving skills until he makes the perfect home.Weaver birds are extremely devoted to designing their nest, so they usually need one day to build their hanging nests.
The most critical moment comes after the job is done. The potential female, who’s been observing the whole process has to pass judgment whether the house is good enough for her and their possible future offspring. At that point the male tries to intrigue her even more by flapping his wings. She then flies to the nest, judges it and, usually, disappears arrogantly in disagreement and non-acceptance of the male and his hard work. Out of revolt, she often destroys the whole nest, therefore the male is left with nothing but to make another one. Available literature states the males often make four to five nests until the female accepts a conceptual solution. Allegedly, some males even end up without a female, despite constant trying to impress and satisfy their choose one.
From this family of birds also comes the Sociable Weaver who makes complex nests for multiple flocks. These birds are extremely friendly and often adopt more than one hundred birds to their community. Every bird has its own little apartment with a special entrance, while in the whole community exists a hierarchy. Usually at the top are strong clever birds, always ready to quickly inform about potential danger. They also have cold chambers for hot days and warmer chambers in the middle of the nest where they get tucked away during chilly nights.
They seem hastily, cheerful, as they are very loud and convey a powerful message about persistence and perseverance in achieving personal goals. You can often see more hanging nests on a single branch which make the surroundings more enjoyable. It is a real pleasure to gaze at their flirtatious game of seduction where creativity is the recipe for love.