Saturday, August 22, 2009

An Early Spring!

Well, the calendar notwithstanding (it is a full month yet until spring officially arrives), spring has sprung.

The recent rains have awakened the bougainvillea outside my bedroom window from its winter slumber and it has sent out a new spike fully 10 feet long, looking for all the world like a giant, thorn studded insect antenna jutting forth from the wall to which the vine clings. And there, midway down its length, hangs a bulbous green growth, a further harbinger of spring…a weaver bird’s nest.

A beautiful black-trimmed gold weaver bird male is diligently collecting grasses and delicately constructing this avian palace for his lady love. When he is finished, he will bring her here for inspection. More likely than not she will rip it to shreds, screaming her indignation at its imperfections, then she will huff off to another tree and await the rebuild.

I’m thinking this particular bird may be a bachelor male, since he has chosen to build his nest so close to human occupation. We have a line of old stone pines at the back of the property in which there is a twittering colony of thirty or more weaver bird families and why this young male decided to forego building his home where his mate would have girlfriends to gossip with from their front door is beyond me. No matter what he does to make this nest perfect, I fear he may be in for an unhappy time of it, unless he is lucky enough to have a sweetheart who prefers isolation to the hustle bustle of the established colony.

I have just taken another look at Mr. Weaver’s nest and discovered a nest further up the bougainvillea stalk…so, he has inveigled another young gentleman to build a nearby nest! This increases his chances of success as these birds prefer living in groups rather in isolation. But the construction of his nest must meet Mrs. Weaver Bird’s exacting specifications and these young males seldom get it right the first time.

Eventually, when (and if) Mr. Weaver Bird gets it right, his lady love will take up residence in her new quarters and proceed to incubate next generation. If she accepts the nest outside my window, I will soon be treated to the chitter-chatter of little bird babies calling for their next course.

I don’t care that the calendar says we have another month of winter to endure, Mother Earth and her furred and feathered denizens say it is spring. The wild calla lilies are blooming, carpeting the vleis with their creamy white cones, wildflowers dot the roadsides, moles are pushing up mounds after months of dormancy, and the lawn looks like a meadow. And the birds are nesting, right within eyesight of my bedroom window.

I love living here!

Photos by Stig Nygaard and smudger888, flickr


  1. Kool I enjoy birds as long as there not dropping a load on my car.

  2. Hi Sweet Violet--

    I am so happy to hear *your happiness!* I can tell how content you are in South Africa--and it isn't it funny where the twists and turns in our lives lead us?

    I so love spring--here it is approaching fall, which is my favorite time in New England. I just love the changing fall colors (but I hate winter--at which point I will be spending more time in the Bay Area!).

    Take care,


  3. You didn't mention the freesias. I understand they line the roadways in SA like "weeds". I wonder what the formula is for these incredible plants. In my opinion there is no blossom on this earth that smells better. I'd love to have a gazillion of them in Modesto - but it may be too hot here. I never see them in gardens locally....


  4. So beautiful bird. What a relaxing topic to greet the weekend :)

  5. I'm so jealous! I wish I could see more diverse fauna than the AZ-Sonora desert has. I won't even talk about the flora, that's even worse, jajajaja.


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