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Bird watch - The Baya Weaver Bird

Updated on October 11, 2012
See how beautiful he is....
See how beautiful he is....

Among one of the most fascinating birds I have seen is the Baya Weaver Bird! A small bird, slightly bigger than the house sparrow, it is brightly coloured in yellow and black. I was walking along the semi-dry river bed of the Chitravati river, which flows through Puttaparthi when I heard wheezy chit-chit cheeeeeeee, chit-chit cheeeee... sounds. Immediately, I went on the alert and began to look around for the owner of that sweet sound.

There was no bird in sight but as I moved ahead, the sounds got louder and more in number too! It was evident to me that this is not a single bird but a community of them. I was only a few days old into this field of Ornithology but I was very excited at the prospects of meeting new feathered friends. The past few days had thrilled me about the variety of birds that abound my hamlet! And now, was my chance of making a new friend.

I came to a cluster of reeds that were growing in the shallow waters of the river. The Chitravati is not a perennial river and so it is dry for months and almost dry for a few months, being full only for about 3 months a year. Thus, I waded through ankle deep water to arrive at this reed cluster. The gentle breeze parted the reeds and my heart delighted at the sight of the beautiful baya weaver bird!

I peered curiously at him and he peered curiously at me...... ( This is the Streaked Weaver)
I peered curiously at him and he peered curiously at me...... ( This is the Streaked Weaver)

This bird is easily noticed from the shape of the nests it builds. It weaves with great patience and perseverance and builds for days to make a retort shaped home. These nests are always over some water body and this gives the bird a sense of safety and security. And these are social birds too! They always like in flocks and its very rare to find a solitary nest anywhere.

I discovered more intriguing information about the little weaver. It is always the male who builds the nest. He receives no help from his mate. But well, that is because he has no fixed mate. He is polygamous and he builds multiple nests for multiple females! It is not that the female is ‘duty-free’. The responsibility of incubating the eggs till they hatch is entirely left to the female. She does not depend on the male for this for he is busy making other nests and wooing other females.

This is either a "works in progress" or the experimental work of a juvenile male
This is either a "works in progress" or the experimental work of a juvenile male
The dexterous Baya Weaver at work
The dexterous Baya Weaver at work

It is fascinating to observe the weaver weave his nest. I was blessed with an opportunity to observe this too. He flies to a nearby haystack from where he collects the fibres he needs for the nest. He has a stout conical beak but he uses it with great dexterity to make interwoven strands that constitute the foundations of his hanging home. He is very patient and diligent and is never bogged down by the laboriously slow rate at which his home comes up. Days of toil brings the nest to the intermediate “helmet stage”.

Time to give the finishing touches and complete the interior decorations....
Time to give the finishing touches and complete the interior decorations....

The pace of building seems to quicken once this stage of the nest is crossed. I feel that this is because he can look at the nest that is coming up nicely and draw inspiration. He is now capable of visualizing his home and that in itself is an inspiration. I made a mental note - “Vision is a vital step to inspire great works and achievements!”

This is all the more true when you observe many nests abandoned at the halfway stage. I later came to know that these are experimental nests built by juvenile males. Lacking experience, they do not complete the nests till they improve on the learning curve. The experienced males are better at visualizing and they move towards completeness.

The nest is soon ready and he invites the female. He does this with a show of his nest and hopes that his efforts score over those of his fellow weavers. But there are enough females for all - in fact one male mates with more than one female. He literally builds multiple homes!

Weaves a magical bond along with the nests - always on a lookout for females
Weaves a magical bond along with the nests - always on a lookout for females

The chirping of this bird is so energetic. It increases in the nesting season which is from May to September according the the father of Indian Ornithology - Salim Ali. These weavers are very social and they sit happily singing a long-drawn joyous chee- eeee, accompanied by a flapping of wings as they weave their nests together. They collect wet blobs of mud to plaster within the nest, where the eggs will be laid. The female usually lays about 2-4 eggs.

This bird is shy to movements. If you wish to observe it, its important to locate its nesting area first. The bird abounds in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar. Shallow ponds and water bodies are good places to look for them.Arrive at the area and find a comfortable position and place to settle and observe. Make no sudden movements. The birds will return very soon and it's a most enjoyable period to see them go about their tasks in all meticulousness.

Once you have finished admiring this yellow beauty, look around and you almost see an infinite variety!

A few nests overhanging a pond
A few nests overhanging a pond

If you liked this article, then you will surely enjoy these too:

1. The beautiful birds of Puttaparthi - 1 (This hub won an award in a contest of more than 1500 entries!)

2. The beautiful birds of Puttaparthi - 2 (The sequel to that prize-winning hub)

3. Gangotri - Birthplace of the spiritual Ganga

4. Beautiful Badrinath


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    • aravindb1982 profile image

      Aravind Balasubramanya 4 years ago from Puttaparthi, India

      @Bhupinder Singh - The height of the tree does not matter. The Weaver Bird will build its nest 99% of the times over a water body. That has been my observation. The water gives the bird a sense of security. So, if there is a tree overlooking a pond, the birds will automatically build there...

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      bhupinder singh 4 years ago

      Would like information about baya bird. I can hear the community a little further away from my property. A few birds do come by ocassionaly to eat bajra I put out for birds but do not build nests. Anything I can do to attract them so that they build nests in the tall trees around my house? Kindly help. Thank you.

    • poornimasrinath profile image

      poornimasrinath 6 years ago from Midrand, Johannesburg, RSA

      I used to watch the weaver bird in action from the window of our bedroom in Joburg. From my observation I noticed that before the greenness in the nest dries up it starts weaving another one and the old nest usually remains empty. I don't know if this is true.

      Early in the morning it would start the nest and within an hour or two the nest would be fresh and ready for use. ...It is a common bird in South africa too..

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 6 years ago from Canada

      Love the photos! I have never seen this little creature before, so I appreciate being able to get acquainted.

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      Balasubramanya Subbarao 6 years ago


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      Shruti 6 years ago


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      sp 6 years ago

      wish i was a man to walk around parthi

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 6 years ago from Isle of Man

      The ego gives meaning to what we perceive but the meaning we give is made up. We do this all the time and we cover the true meaning that God has given. Sometimes it is best to observe without writing our meaning on the window through which we can view God's creations. I was reminded of Part 2 Dehli Tour in which you described how Swami ate and how he looked at each piece of fruit as if for the first time. I believe He was demonstrating how to observe and appreciate without ego judgement or interpretation. A wonderful message thank you.

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      shruti 6 years ago


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      Balasubramanya Subbarao 6 years ago

      The Photos are excellent and the narration is awesome

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      Aarthi 6 years ago

      Very nice post, Aravind! You've written it so nicely.

      “Vision is a vital step to inspire great works and achievements!” - Beautiful!

      I loved the caption "I peered curiously at him and he peered curiously at me....." - cute!

      The bird itself looks so pretty with the golden crown on top, like a king. And to see the way he has woven the nest is a treat for the eyes.

      As Swami always says, nature teaches us a lot. And nature in its pristine beauty reminds us of the creator. And we learn to appreciate the simple joys of life.

      Lovely article! Keep more like this coming!

    • carcro profile image

      Paul Cronin 6 years ago from Winnipeg

      What a beautiful bird! They make incredible nests, I wish we had them here. Thanks for sharing. Voted Up and Awesome!

    • aravindb1982 profile image

      Aravind Balasubramanya 6 years ago from Puttaparthi, India

      @ grandmapearl - Thank you. Was wonderful reading about your blue jay!

      @esmeowl12 - In the kingdom of birds, familiarity breeds love! Spend enough time with any bird and it gets beautiful and unique

      @ Sai Santosh - Thanks for the link...

      @Trsmd - Those are quite some birds....Hope to find them all soon

    • Trsmd profile image

      Trsmd 6 years ago from India

      There are quite a number of these bird species such as Social Weaver,Red billed Quelea,Red Headed Quelea.Spotted Back Weaver.Orange Weaver,Napoleon Weaver,Black billed weaver, ,to name just a few.

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      Sai Santosh 6 years ago

      Arvind, thanks for the fascinating account of this bird. You may enjoy reading this deeply profound SAI book with a bird as the main protagonist


      Sai Santosh, Birmingham, Alabama, USA.

    • Esmeowl12 profile image

      Cindy A. Johnson 6 years ago from Sevierville, TN

      What a beautiful and unusual bird!

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 6 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Loved learning about this unique and beautiful weaver bird. Thank you for sharing, and for the wonderful pictures. Excellent hub.