Skip to content

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and you will receive our stories in your inbox.

A nest worthy of an elephant – weaving fantasy in the Kalahari.

Posted in Life & Love, Relationships, Style & Travel, and Uncategorized

assimilation11These fantastical bird’s nests reminded me of Horton the Elephant. One of my favourite Dr Seuss characters.

Horton is a game fellow, who meets Mayzie, a bird who thinks she needs a vacation. What happens next always made me smile (the words are all Dr Seuss’):
Then Horton, the Elephant, passed by her tree.
“Hello!” called the lazy bird, smiling her best,
“You’ve nothing to do and I do need a rest.
Would you like to sit on the egg in my nest?”
assimilation-5Horton worries that he is too big and heavy for the job:
The elephant laughed.
“Why, of all silly things!
I haven’t feathers and I haven’t wings.
Me on your egg? Why, that doesn’t make sense…
Your egg is so small, ma’am, and I’m so immense!”
assimilation-4But Mayzie persuades him, and he “gentle and kind” agrees:
H-m-m-m..the first thing to do,” murmured Horton,
“Let’s see…
The first thing to do is to prop up this tree
And make it much stronger. That has to be done
Before I get on it. I must weigh a ton.”
Then carefully,
Gently he crept
Up the trunk to the nest where the little egg slept.
Then Horton the elephant smiled.  “Now that’s that…”

I’m sure the weaver birds that created these nests had no thought of Horton, but they were thinking of eggs. Their and their community’s. The males strip every bit of vegetation around, trying to woo the females into setting up home. If that nest doesn’t work for her – they either create or find another. I’ve watched them in my father’s garden – desperately trying to get it right. Often ending up alone until next mating season.
assimilation-2These photos were taken in the Kalahari – a desert that almost spans South Africa. The photographer Dillon Marsh says: “In the vast barren landscapes of the southern Kalahari, Sociable Weaver Birds assume ownership of the telephone poles that cut across their habitat.Their burgeoning nests are at once inertly statuesque and teeming with life. The twigs and grass collected to build these nests combine to give strangely recognisable personalities to the otherwise inanimate poles.”

I think Horton (and Dr Seuss) would have loved them.

(images copyright Dillon Marsh, for more information, find his website here)

Share on Facebook


  1. silvia


    June 20, 2013
  2. Ah, fabulous pictures. And fabulous memories. Sociable weavers and my days in Namibia.

    May 31, 2013
  3. Janet Rörschåch
    Janet Rörschåch

    Never have I ever seen anything like those nests. My sister is a big birder. I’m going to send her this link. She will find those nests really interesting. Thank you!

    May 31, 2013
  4. I’ve never seen anything like it. I thought it was human made sculpture until I read more. Birds are amazing. I love the mating ritual of Bower birds (I blogged about them) They have an aesthetic sense too!

    May 31, 2013

Got some thoughts? We would love to hear what you think

%d bloggers like this: