Why is hay in the treetops?

Why is hay in the treetops?

Most of the ‘hay in the treetops’ are found in African countries, south of the Sahara. They are clumps of dry grass hanging from branches. What are they?

The mini clumps and balls of hay are bird nests. 

They are the nests of weaverbirds. Weaverbirds weave grass and leaves, usually dry grass, into small nests on the branches of trees.

The Weaverbird is a small bird in the Ploceidae family containing the weaver, weaver finch, widowbird, bishop, malimbe, fody, and quelea. 

Many weaverbirds are sociable, or communal, or colonial, which means that they live in small to large colonies all together, making their nests close to each other for protection.

The small entrance to the nest faces sideways or downwards.

Some nests are neat and some nests are messy.

Some nests accommodate a few weaverbirds, and some nests have over 400 birds living in them. 

The weaverbirds repair damaged nests so that they can be recycled and re-used. Some nests are thought to be up to 100 years old.

Location of photographs: Kenya

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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