Ever try to weave a basket out of grasses or palm fronds? It's a bit difficult, right? Takes a while to get the hang of it? Well what if you tried to weave a basket using just your mouth and starting out with one piece of grass? It'd be really tough, right? But it's nothing for the weaverbird!
Typically it is the male birds that build the nests as a way to woo females. The better the builder, the more likely he is to find a mate. Many species start out with just a single strand of plant fiber and begin the seemingly miraculous project from there.
Encyclopedia Britannica tells us: "The breeding male ploceine typically has bright yellow markings, is polygynous, and makes a nest that resembles an upside-down flask, with a bottom entrance, which may be a sort of tube. He attracts females by hanging upside down from the nest while calling and fluttering his wings.
Good old Wikipedia says: "Many species weave very fine nests using thin strands of leaf fiber, though some, like the buffalo-weavers, form massive untidy stick nests in their colonies, which may have spherical woven nests within. The sparrow weavers of Africa build apartment-house nests, in which 100 to 300 pairs have separate flask-shaped chambers entered by tubes at the bottom. Most species weave nests that have narrow entrances, facing downward."
These little birds are truly masters at building structures out of twigs, stems and other odds and ends. Watching them at work is, well, mind-blowing:
The next time you see a bird building a nest, just remember what some birds are capable of creating!