Hotel Weaver

Most birds build a nest for one breeding season only. Sociable weavers use and maintain their nests for ages. One huge nest is weaved for the entire colony.
These giant grassy apartment blocks put up with several hundred noisy, restless tenants all year round. Some nests have been thought to last over a century.
The massive hanging haystacks (that can be up to 4 metres high and 7 metres long) begin to appear as one approaches Upington in the Northern Cape. Telephone poles seem to teeter under the weight of them…some have collapsed and lie dead along road verges.

Tunnels of up to 25 cm long and 7 cm wide end in snug nesting chambers lined with soft fur or fluff. The chambers are so well insulated that as the mercury soars and plummets outside, the air within stays constant all year…

There are often a couple of cheeky non-paying guests at Hotel Weaver….the Pygmy Falcon, chats and finches – many come to enjoy the free, cosy nesting chambers. Some really presumptuous raptors may even consider the nest a handy and convenient platform upon which to roost.

This sleek, suave and very long chap was one of the less welcome guests. He dropped by for a sumptuous breakfast…
‘I’ll have a dozen eggs with my weaver chicks this morning, thank you waiter…’


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3 thoughts on “Hotel Weaver

  1. Wonderful dedication to staying put! It reminds me a little of badger setts here which can be hundreds of years in age and like dense catacombs deep in the earth. It’s hard to believe that snakes don’t stay put as well beside that regular supply of food, decimating the weavers each generation. But they obviously don’t, and so succeed the weavers. I have a lot to catch up with on Running Wild after a busy time here, so best get going. Best wishes and thanks for a terrific post!

  2. Thanks Julian – great to hear from you! Hope busy for you in a good way! The Kgalagadi was incredible as you will see…have you ever visited these parts?

  3. Busy in a good way – a couple of writing deadlines about the natural world for the end of the month!

    I’ve never visited that part of the world, but these posts of yours (not only the more recent) have got me thinking very seriously of finding a way there one of these days! Love the sound of the birds, the colours, the moods, the mammals and snakes, the whole of it to be honest. And what I particularly enjoyed about part 3 (of an excellent and captivating series of terrific writing) was your wonderful words at the end – the voicing of something that isn’t all that common to acknowledge. How even if the young had died it still would have been a gift, sustenance for a number of the other creatures that together compose what looks to me like an astonishing part of the world. Without that cycle it would be a much lesser place. Thanks for taking me there!

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