There’s a certain pleasure in watching a bird build its nest, rear the young ones and watch them fly away. While different birds nest at various times of the year, spring and summer months are the most preferred. The early morning cacophony of birds quarrelling over precious nesting sites and mates can be more effective than an alarm clock. Once they settle down, the busy period starts. Soon after the nests are built it’s hatching time and then feeding the ever-hungry nestlings. Both parents flit to and from the nest, keeping vigil for predators ~ birds of prey and cats. As the babies’ chirps fill the air, one cannot avoid the feeling of awe and wonderment.
A keen bird-watcher colleague, who was lucky to spot a few nests being built around her house, could not help but wonder from where the birds got their training. The nests are so perfect and any architect’s envy, she felt. Each bird species builds a particular style of nest and it is generally easy to identify the bird from it.
Our colleague’s saga began with a feverish hammering of a tree outside her window. Wondering which bird was at work, she was delighted to spot a Coppersmith barbet busy carving out a hollow. By evening, the house was ready and soon she spotted a barbet’s head as it sat in, hatching the eggs. The next few weeks were spent watching the parents fly in to the feed the young one, which occasionally peeped out. From the silence later, one could infer the little bird had flown off.
Our colleague then watched in fascination as a Sunbird built its hanging nest. Appearing at first to be an untidy mass of leaves and cobweb, a closer look revealed the perfectly-woven hammock, which can withstand the strongest of winds. An oval opening with an eave fashioned above it could only be described as nature’s work at its best.