Backyard Chirper

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Photographer Explores Huge Nests of Sociable Weaver

Imagine living in a small building with several hundred other people all right next to you. This is the living situation of the most interesting nest-building bird species: the Sociable Weaver.

When most think of bird nests, the image of a solitary nest perched in a tree or awning usually comes to mind, but the Sociable Weaver completely shatters that stereotype as generations of this species participate in building a massive nest that can house hundreds of birds for years. This is the type of living behavior we associate with animals like bees, ants or humans (who live in huge apartment buildings), but the extreme environment in these birds’ native habitat of southern Africa, where temperatures are high in the day and low in the night, make this nest a perfect place to live.

The huge nests, which are usually built in trees or on telephone poles, have several layers of chambers that retain heat at night and keep cool during the day. These birds have been in the news lately because of photographer Dillon Marsh’s recent series on these amazing structures.

Check out a few of his breathtaking images.



You can see more of his work at his website.

Timothy Martinez Jr. is a writer and freelance journalist. His work has been published in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Remapping Debate in New York City and other publications. He’s been a bird lover since he was young and currently lives in New Orleans, L.A.