When we take the ferry to and from Buvuma Island in Lake Victoria, we are required to arrive one hour early to sign in, register the vehicl

Nests throughout the treetop.

Nests throughout the treetop.

e, etc. So this gives us a lot of time standing around watching people and boats and such. On my last visit in June as I was waiting for the ferry to leave the island, I became fascinated by a tree that stands near the guard hut. It is full of tiny nests and pretty little yellow birds all industriously constructing their homes. There were at least forty of the nests in the tree branches, which suggests that these birds are flocking birds rather than solitary ones.

I watched in amazement as these small creatures wove the grass into tiny little two-tiered bird condos. The top is the nest, a perfectly formed bowl woven into shape with

Builder hanging onto the circular entryway from below and skillfully weaving the strands of grass

Builder hanging on from below and skillfully weaving the strands of grass

basket-like cross-hatching. The bottom, which faces down, seems to be the entrance when finished and is a perfectly round entryway suspended below the upper story of the nest. How in the world did they learn to do that, I wondered.

Gail fell into a discussion with the guard about the birds, and he was aware of them, but as is the case with so many of us in our own familiar surroundings, he had taken them for granted until we pointed out how marvelous they really are. As the three of us gazed up at all the action going on is this tree, we asked him what kind of birds they are. He answered, predictably, that they call them weaver birds.

This trip, as I was leaving the island and again watching the show in the treetop, I noticed something on the ground at my feet – it was one of the nests, almost completely formed,

Closeup of the bowl-shaped nest

Closeup of the bowl-shaped nest

which had apparently fallen out of the tree. Perhaps an apprentice or novice weaver had constructed it, and though his handiwork was typically excellent, he had forgotten the part about attaching it to the tree branch. I immediately captured this treasure and have it here in front of me as I write this.

I would love to bring it home for the grandkids to see, but am pretty sure taking any kind of foreign plant life into the US is banned by the Dept. of Agriculture. I don’t want one of their organic-sniffing beagles to “out me” while I’m trying to get through customs, like happened to a certain wife of mine once because of an apple she had gotten on the plane and absent-mindedly stuck in her carry-on – funny story now, not so much then as she was grilled by the dog-handling officer, who seemed convinced that she was trying to smuggle this single small fruit into the country.

I am still very impressed with the instinctive skill of these birds in weaving small baskets to live

Closeup of the bottom of the nest - notice the carefully woven strands of grass in a basket-weave and then remember, a bird did this.

Closeup of the bottom of the nest – notice the carefully woven strands of grass in a basket-weave and then remember, a bird did this.

in, especially ones with an upstairs and a downstairs entryway

. I have included photos here, which will probably be the only version of the nest I can bring home. They are poor substitutes, but take a look at them anyway, and join me in my admiration for God’s creative diversity and the almost miraculous specialization demonstrated by these tiny weaver birds in Uganda.

If you click on the pictures, you should be able to see a larger version.