General, Research, Technology

How does a small bird build the largest nests up to 8 meters long?

To survive, all living organisms needwork. People go to work to have a roof over their heads, as well as not to die of hunger and boredom. Ants build multi-level anthills, rodents dig deep holes, and birds build nests. All this takes a huge amount of time and effort, so people and animals must be able to work in a team. Birds known as social weavers (Philetairus socius) have proven themselves particularly well in this business. Thanks to their close-knit work, they manage to build the largest nests in the world, up to two and up to eight meters long. Recently, a team of researchers from National Geographic went to the habitat of these unusual birds and found out how their life is built.

The largest nests are made by birds known as social weavers

Hardworking animals

The observation results were published onthe official website of the TV channel. Scientists already knew a lot about ordinary weavers. Outwardly, they resemble well-known sparrows: their body length is on average about 14 centimeters, most of the feathers are colored light brown, but there are also black feathers among them. It is impossible to distinguish females from males by eye alone, because they have practically no sexual dimorphism. Under the term "Sexual dimorphism" it is customary to understand the phenomenon when between individualsdifferent genders have clear distinctive features like growths on the forehead, different colors of certain parts of the body, and so on. I have already written about this many times - for example, there is a mention of this phenomenon in this article.

Public Weaver (Philetairus socius)

There is nothing in the appearance of these birdsremarkable. But their solidarity in the construction of nests is clearly worthy of attention. Their homes are 8 meters long - they look like haystacks hanging from trees and power lines. However, this is not a nest for one family, because there are about 300 separate rooms in this hanging structure. There are places for rest both in the outer layer of the nest and deep inside. And this structure was made for a reason, because it makes a lot of sense. It can be said that the presence of a huge number of nests provides the birds with the most comfortable living conditions.

Did you know that birds can see colors that we cannot even imagine?

Nest structure

During observations, scientists noticed that at nightcommunity weavers sleep only in nests deep within the structure. And in the daytime, especially in hot weather, they spend time in the outer layers of the huge nest. After measuring the air temperature in different layers of the structure, everything became clear. At night, birds sleep in remote rooms because it is warmer. While they sleep inside, the outer nests are cooled and during the day they keep the temperature at +8 degrees Celsius. At the same time, it can be 30-degree heat outside.

As you can see, the huge nest consists of many smaller nests.

As mentioned above, for constructionso large and complex, teamwork is important. In the course of scientific work, the researchers found that birds take this matter with great seriousness. My colleague Lyubov Sokovikova has already said that despite a tiny brain, birds are capable of creating a multilevel society. Well, social weavers are no exception. As in any society, there are lazy and dishonest individuals among them. The rest of the birds treat them very strictly.

BBC Community Weavers Video

When an individual avoids work oracts dishonestly towards other birds, they are punished. So, if one of the individuals is lazy to bring new straw and takes it from another part of the nest, the group of birds simply drives it away. At the same time, they try to drive away the cunning man as far as possible, because alone these birds quickly become victims of predators. Sometimes the exiled birds realize their guilt, return to the nest and begin to work honestly. Everything is just like people.

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In general, there are a lot of workaholics in the world of birds. And some of them don't just work hard, they do it wisely. For example, the puffin bird (Fratercula arctica) is very adept at using all kinds of sticks as tools. In July 2018, researcher Annette Fayet was able to videotape one of these feathered creatures scratching its chest with a stick raised from the ground. It looks very funny, so I recommend watching the video in this article.