Sociable weavers' superlative nests turn phone poles into works of art (photos)

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The tiny South African songbirds build the world's biggest nests, and in doing so make the mundane magnificent.

South African photographer Dillon Marsh sees the landscape with eyes atypical of the traditional nature portraitist. Often focusing his lens on motifs where man and nature meet in nuanced and curious ways, Marsh's series, Assimilation, illustrates the interaction perfectly. In the following photographs, Marsh explores the never-ending bleak landscapes of the Kalahari Desert, where sociable weaver birds co-opt the telephone poles that pepper their habitat. Says Marsh, "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." And indeed, using the poles as armatures to create fanciful forms in a place void of much ornament, the songbirds bring man's handiwork to life, all the while building a place to call home.

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