Friday, 26 May 2017

Petit à petit l'oiseau fait son nid

At the moment we have an old fashioned string mop wedged into our fence. It was put there to dry, but now we can't remove it because we have noticed that a pair of Gold Finch Carduelis carduelis (Fr. Chardonneret élégant) are stealing fibres from it.

The couple must be building their nest in a neighbour's garden. As you can see in the first two photos, only the female collects nesting material. The male perches nearby in the clematis keeping guard. He isn't protecting her from predators, but from other male Gold Finches who may attempt to mate with her. According to Tim at Aigronne Valley Wildlife, he probably has several females in a sort of harem.


  1. Even though peu à peu has exactly the same meaning, the traditional wording of this well-known proverb is Petit à petit, l’oiseau fait son nid.

    1. Yes, there's a rhyme involved. The expression with peu instead of petit sounds clunky.

      We've had various birds collection fibers from the artichokes we had let go to flower last year. Nice nesting material, I guess.

    2. I've heard/read both versions, but of course you are right about the rhyme. I'll change the heading.

  2. Next time I need to dispose of an old mop head, I'll know what to do with it!

  3. This story and the photos are delightful.