Nests are a truly remarkable result of evolution and an example of the artistic superiority of birds over the rest of the animal kingdom. Edward Hamilton Atkien devotes one whole chapter of his widely read 'Tribes on my Frontier' explaining why in his view, birds are a much more sophisticated class, owing to their elaborate coutrship displays and their preference for tastefully designed houses. Although nests are usually thought to represent decorative and elaborate structures such as the cup-shaped nests of flycatchers or the hanging nests of the weaver, the term applies to a wide variety of structures which are used to harbour birds'eggs. These may range from the intricately stitched nest of the Common Tailorbird to the shabby, haphazard arrangement of twigs used by doves. Some birds like the murres lay their eggs directly onto rocky ledges while some swifts construct their nests entirely out of their sticky saliva. Nests are yet another reflection of the fact that birds truly are creatures of taste.
A very happy Wildlife Week! And as always, the compilation is available as a poster, which you can order by writing to me on firstname.lastname@example.org. Saevus readers will have seen 11 of these already in the August issue of the magazine.
This work by Rohan Chakravarty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.