Early nesting in weavers2011-07-18 (124)
It's winter in South Africa but many weavers have started building nests. PHOWN (Photos of Weaver Nests) has over 30 records of early nest building (see here). The species and number of records are: Village Weaver (2), Cape Weaver (15), Southern Masked Weaver (15), Thick-billed Weaver (1). The earliest record in PHOWN for 2011 is Cape Weavers present in their old colony on 2 May (VM 814, Barry and Sue Schultz) and building on 17 May (VM 818, Robyn Kadis). The earliest Southern Masked Weaver records in PHOWN for 2011 are three different males building on 13 June (VM 831, VM 832, Robyn Kadis, and VM 837, Les Underhill). The earliest 2011 Village Weaver records in PHOWN are colonies with males building and displaying in KwaMbonambi on 8 July (VM 859 and VM 860).
Normally, Village Weavers breed from Aug-Feb in South Africa. Cape Weavers breed from Jul-Nov in the winter-rainfall region of the Western Cape (even in June when high rainfall occurs early in the season) and Aug-Feb in the summer-rainfall region. In South Africa, Southern Masked Weavers breed from Aug-Oct in the Western Cape (winter-rainfall region) and Jul-Mar elsewhere. The start of nest building varies locally depending on rainfall, but muh more data is needed to see how quickly weavers respond to rainfall. In urban areas, rainfall may be less important. If you have any early records of weaver colonies please submit to PHOWN!