woven grass

November 12, 2016 - Red Fody, Madagascan Red Fody, Madagascar Red Fody, or Cardinal Fody (Foudia madagascariensis)

Requested by: @gepwin

Native to Madagascar, these weavers have been introduced to many Indian and Atlantic Ocean islands, as well as Oman and Bahrain. They feed on seeds from grasses and other plants, along with nectar, fruit, and arthropods. Social birds, they spend much of the year in flocks. Males break away at the beginning of the breeding season to establish territories, initially attacking all intruders, including females. They build rounded nests with side entrances from woven grasses and other vegetation, eventually attracting females, which often help line the nests.

Essays in Existentialism: Masquerade III

Any chance we’ll get more of the masquerade prompt? I love your stories!

Previously on Masquerade

There was nothing. Not a glimmer of existence, not a breeze in the trees, not even a blink of another human or world behind the far sight of the fence way in the distance. Clarke had never felt so alone before in her life, alone in the sense that perhaps no one else could know that this place existed and it was simply her’s and her’s alone. 

Flat as far as she looked in one direction, mountains surrounded her, tall and sparse and lazy. The colors all bled together, with the sky deep and getting dark, that rich kind of blue that would have burdened the ocean with itself, and the rocks of the mountains deep, healthy browns that almost smelled like pure earth and dirt, the grasses a woven tapestry of every shade of green and pale yellows. From the door of the stable, Clarke was lost in it. 

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December 2, 2016 - Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus)

Requested by: rainhawk

These sparrows are found across North America, wintering in Mexico and the southern United States and breeding in Canada and the northern United States. They feed primarily on grains and the seeds of grasses and weeds, along with insects during the breeding season. Their large range is due to their adaptability and they are often among the first birds to return to abandoned mining areas and farms. Analyses of their songs suggest that young sparrows learn to sing from older birds, as the songs of neighboring sparrows are more similar than those living far away. Their nests are shallow cups built from woven grasses on the ground. Females incubate the eggs and both parents care for the chicks.

Lava birds nest

Looking like woven sprigs of grass with a few dark eggs in the centre, a clump of volcanic glass formed when spatters of hot basaltic lava were quenched too quickly to form even microscopic crystals. While they occur in many places worldwide, it is from the ever running vulcanological experiment provided to researchers by the sacred smokers of Hawaii, in particular Kilauea. To the indigenous people, the fire goddess Pele was supposed to reside within, and eruptions to be a reflection of her anger, so the woven glass is called Pele’s hair (see http://on.fb.me/1SwDhIJ), while the black droplets are compared to her tears (see http://on.fb.me/1OGMtGu)

Loz

Image credit: James St John

October 14, 2016 - American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus)

Requested by: @snakesheds

Found in western North America, these aquatic songbirds dive under the water to feed on aquatic insects and larvae, even moving rocks to find food. They also eat dragonflies, worms, small fish, fish eggs, and flying insects. Pairs build nests on cliffs, behind waterfalls, or on boulders, banks, and bridges near the water. They build an outer shell of moss around a woven cup of grasses, leaves, and bark, often dipping the materials into water first. Their low metabolic rate, ability to carry extra oxygen in their blood, and thick feathers help them withstand the cold water during the winter.

May 26, 2016 - Grey-chinned Minivet, Mountain Minivet, Yellow-throated Minivet, or Grey-throated Minivet (Pericrocotus solaris)

These small birds in the cuckoo-shrike family are found in evergreen and deciduous forests of China, Southeast Asia, and the Himalayas. They eat insects gathered from the forest canopy, making short flights to catch their prey in the air and often joining mixed-species flocks. Pairs build their small cup nests together out of twigs, roots, and grass, woven together with spiderwebs. Both parents feed the chicks. Females and males look similar, apart from color. While females have bright yellow undersides and wing patches, the males’ are red.