BERHAMPUR: The number of weaver birds in Ganjam district is gradually on the rise. Unlike Ghara Chatia (house sparrow), weaver birds were seen abundantly in the district a decade back. Their number had gone down drastically and the birds were on the verge of extinction after the 1999 Super-Cyclone. However, the birds seem to be returning to Ganjam district over the last few years. This year, the number of nests of weaver birds has increased compared to this period last year. Nesting season of the bird is from May to September coinciding with southwest monsoon and onset of rabi cultivation.
This month, 40 nests of weaver birds were seen on electric lines near Kankorada and 50 nests in trees across Aska, Digapahandi and Jagannathprasad areas. During the four-month-long nesting season last year, 400 nests of weaver birds were seen in the district while the number was 200 in 2014. “It is a positive sign that the population of these birds is rising,” said Rabindra Kumar Sahu, secretary of Rushikulya Sea Turtles Protection Committee and the brain behind Save Sparrow campaign in Odisha. He has been studying the behaviour of weaver birds in Ganjam for the last few years.
Weaver birds are polygamous and known for weaving elaborate nests. The skilled male bird weaves the nest and female incubates the eggs. A female inspects the half-constructed nest and if she approves it, the birds mate. Thereafter, the male completes the nest and invites the female to occupy it and lay eggs. The male then starts weaving another nest and invites another female.
Before laying eggs, the female places a thin layer of cow dung to make the nest free from insects. Each bird lays three to four eggs per season.The nest is a swinging retort-shaped structure with long vertical entrance tube, completely woven from strips of paddy leaves and ruff-edged grasses suspended in clusters. After the season, people believe that the abandoned nests bring good fortune.