Birds that weave and sew


Why Evolution Is True

Here are a few videos of the amazing behaviors of some birds—birds that sew and birds that weave. After you see these, perhaps you won’t use the term “birdbrain” as pejorative.

Here’s Orthotomus sutorius, the Common Tailorbird (not common in any way), a warbler-like passerine that lives in tropical Asia.  It has a stunning way of building a nest. First it takes a big leaf, pierces it with holes, and then, using plant fiber, sews the edges of the leaf together, making a cradle or cup inside which the real nest is constructed. It’s a way of both protecting and camouflaging the nest.

The first video below was sent to me by Bruce Lyon, who shows it in his ornithology classes at UC Santa Cruz. He was responding to my puzzlement about how this behavior evolved. For the instructions for building this nest-cradle are surely genetic, instilled in the bird’s…

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