Weaver Bird Nests (How Men Can Never Get it Right)

This is the third weaver bird nest dangling from the acacia tree in our yard:

Weaver bird nest in Johannesburg, South Africa

Or I should say, it was dangling from the tree until today, when it disappeared, like all its predecessors this year. This has always been a mystery to me – did they fall off during a storm, but then why wasn’t there a nest on the ground?

Weaver birds (Ploceidae is their scientific name and they are related to finches), are  found pretty much everywhere in sub-Saharan Africa. As the name suggests, they are excellent weavers, as can be seen in their intricately woven nests – some of them entire colonies stuck together. They are fast builders, too, with a nest like the one in this picture going up in a single day.

This picture of a weaver bird starting a new nest was taken in Madikwe Game Reserve


But I was always baffled as to why the nests in our tree kept vanishing into thin air. Only recently was I enlightened: The male weaver bird is the one building the nest, all on his own, and when he is done he proudly presents it to the female of his choice. Alas, she is often not very happy with his shoddy workmanship, in which case she rejects the nest (about 4-5 times on average, I was told). And she doesn’t just discreetly reject it, no, she has to come and actually destroy the whole thing, for all the world to see, which is what I had the privilege to observe just now. One minute the nest was there, and as I sat there taking pleasure in looking at it, a weaver bird came flying at it for what I thought were further enhancements, but instead the entire thing burst into a cloud of hay and was gone, poof! Even the little handle by which it was attached to the branch.

So for the poor male weaver bird, there is nothing much left to do but starting all over again.

As Noisette would say: Typical woman! A guy just doesn’t stand a chance…

One of the previous weaver bird nests in our yard
Weaver bird nests in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Weaver bird nests in Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa

 

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