Nesting, or the construction of nests for the hatching and rearing of the young, is a partly instinctive, partly learned behavior among Ghyllians. Even the burnflies, our nearest biological relatives, construct rudimentary nests of a pattern generally similar to our own out of whatever materials they find at hand. Gravid females, when trapped far from the comforts of civilization, naturally resort to doing the same, as eggs expelled directly onto the ground are most unlikely to hatch, and if they do, the hatchling will be promptly picked off by the local predators, be they chukarandos or whatever -- a tragedy to be avoided if at all possible. When a nest has not been consciously constructed, instinct takes over, typically one to two days before expulsion is expected.
Among the rich
Among Ghyllians of refinement and breeding, of course, simple nesting behavior is greatly elaborated. The female's mate or mates, as well as those of her friends who are not breeding during the current Perky cycle, will begin working on the nest several weeks before the egg is due. In this way, the expulsion delirium, in which the female is normally possessed by a whirlwind of fierce nest-construction activity leading to the entire abandonment of all usual functions, can be safely spent in the practice of whingelism instead. Doing so is generally believed to lead to healthier and happier children as well as calmer and less frantic parents, though it must be admitted that no firm evidence for this exists, as comparative tests cannot be ethically performed on intelligent subjects.
Among the poor
Even among the lower classes of Ghyll society, where the theory and practice of whingelism are basically unknown, it is typical for the female, with whatever assistance she can arrange for, to spend at least a day developing a sturdy nest. Employers generally encourage this behavior in order to avoid the disaster of nesting striking at the workplace, since once the nest's location is fixed, it cannot be changed come what may.
The present age has provided gravid Ghyllians with many improvements on the results of instinctive nesting. For example, modern materials such as darseed fluff and giant ickle scales are far superior to locally available sticks and stones. Likewise, manufactured glue holds the nests together infinitely better than our natural secretions (though these are still used to make play toys for our offspring when they have developed sufficiently to require them). For those who can afford them, paint and even polished jewels are used to make the nest attractive as well as functional.
Although formerly nests were uniformly built outside (as instinct indeed demands), the more recent fashion is to build them inside, in specially established rooms of our houses known as "nurseries". It is not uncommon for the nursery to be built on to the house with each new child-rearing cycle and then destroyed when no longer needed. In the far reaches of the Sarfelogian Mountains, caves are and always have been the preferred nesting sites, as they provide a near-constant temperature and shelter from the inclement elements. Among the Sea Peoples, nesting is kept carefully synchronized with the arrival of the rafts on terra firma; it is rumored that females who nest on the rafts themselves are summarily disposed of.
Nest construction has many regional styles, though the advent of rapid communication and transportation (via DermPachyges and TransAvian, among other organizations) have mixed these up somewhat. However, we may say that the Froodly style, with its elaborate spikes and undiform floors, is generally favored among the Northern tribes, whereas the Grak-Grak style, with its extremely characteristic pediments and rounded corners, is the preferred construction scheme among the peoples of the gentle South. The hypermodern Inverted style, on the other hand, is found among dilettantes everywhere, and by the same token condemned by traditionalists everywhere as an obvious hazard to the continuation of the Ghyllian species.
--John Cowan 15:22, 14 Jan 2005 (EST)