75 Baya Weaver Bird Nests On A Single Tree In This Odisha Village

Berhampur: In Subalaya panchayat in Ganjam district, a palm tree is now sporting newly-sprung, intricately-woven and helmet-shaped nests. Baya weavers can be seen hanging from the nests, guarding their homes.

What is eye catching is that more than 75 nests of Baya weaver (Ploceus philippinus) birds have been sighted hanging from a single tree situated in an agricultural field of the panchayat.

Two environmentalists, Rabindra Nath Sahu an Honorary Wildlife Warden of Ganjam and Magata Behera, a leading member of Rushikulya Sea Turtle Protection Samiti Purunabandha recently sighted these nests during their survey in Ganjam district.

“So many nests on a single tree is a positive sign as the population of weaver birds is declining due to exposures to constant urbanisation,” said Sahu.

They also sighted about 2,000 nests at Ganjam, Chatrapur, Purushottampur, Khallikote, Kabisuryanagar, Beguniapada and Rangeilunda block in Ganjam district, more than 150 nests at Ganjam railway station, Damodarpur and Barapalli.

Baya, the weaverbird, has been omnipresent in Odia literature and popular folklore. Weaver birds live in grasslands, cultivated areas, and shrubs. They are generally found near fresh or brackish water bodies. These birds are small in size and non-breeding males and females look alike, the researchers said.

The male weaver birds build nests to attract female birds. The males take about 20 days to build a nest and they prefer to live in a colony with several nests on a single tree. One female lays about 2 to 4 eggs in the nest.

The problem of habitat and non-availability of food grains led to the decline of these birds. The artistic nests of weaver birds were a common sight all around Ganjam about a decade back but there has been a sudden decline in their numbers as palm and date tress were chopped.

“These birds generally use long strips of paddy leaves, rough grass and long strips torn from palm fronds to make nests. Due to rapid urbanisation the raw material for building nest reduced,” said Sahu.

He blames the increasing use of microwave towers by mobile phone operators as the main reason behind the vanishing of small birds from urban habitations. Moreover, these birds live on small insects and grains. Rampant use of pesticides has poisoned the food of the birds, he added.

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