Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Fragile Beauty







On Easter Monday,we found an egg. It was partially hidden in the grass in our front yard. It was a real Easter egg, not hidden by humans. A robin's egg. How beautiful, small, and fragile. Little Ella was enchanted with it, and once I found out it had been on the ground a few days, we felt we could crack it open without harming anything. For more than a hundred years, scientists and birders have wondered why bird eggs are speckled. It was thought that the speckles on eggs were camoflauge, to hide them. But speckling patterns did not do a good job of blending in. Then a few years ago, scientists discovered a new purpose for the speckling. The speckles are always in spots where the shell is much thinner. It is thought that the pigment in the spots acts rather like a glue, strengthening and supporting the thin areas, protecting them from breakage. Who knew? The smallest egg is fom a hummingbird, the largest from an ostrich. I have read that it takes two hours to hard boil an ostrich egg. Oy, the cholesterol!



"The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully, but they cannot compare with the pinions and feathers of the stork. She lays her eggs in the ground and lets them warm in the sand, unmindful that a foot may crush them, that some wild animal may trample them. She treats her young harshly, as if they were not hers; she cares not that her labor was in vain, for God did not endow her with wisdom or give her a share of good sense." job 39:13,17

55 comments:

Stephanie V said...

Good info. It's amazing how strong a 'fragile' egg can be. Lovely photo of your Ella.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Ginny, When I see those tiny little eggs (like I did last year when watching the Bluebirds) ---I was totally amazed that a baby bluebird could pop out of that tiny egg---and then grow so quickly... It's totally awesome and in my mind, a miracle.

Hugs,
Betsy

Sandra said...

well this certainly fits in the folder of things i did not know. what a pretty little egg and of course we know the little girl is pretty. very interesting facts and yikes on the ostrich egg. once i cracked an egg to scramble and found a teeny tiny itty bitty chicken inside. i have struggled to eat eggs boiled since then, and even scrambled. is that TMI?

hip chick said...

I have zebra finches that laid eggs last year and one of them hatched! I gave the baby bird to friends. Their eggs are white and the size of a jelly bean.

George said...

Thanks for the information about the speckles on bird eggs. I occasionally find broken robin eggs when I work in the yard.

DawnTreader said...

What a pretty colour. I thought from the first picture that it was some kind of candy egg.

SquirrelQueen said...

Lovely photo of Ella and the little egg. I sometimes find Robin's eggs in my yard and it is a little sad.

Good information on the speckles, very interesting. It would take a long time to hard boil an ostrich egg, those things are huge. We watched an ostrich lay an egg at a wildlife park one time. After she laid it she walked away, some mother she was.

Glenda said...

A bird's nest full of eggs is a beautiful sight, and so it the little robin egg you found! And again today I learned new things from your post; I didn't know about the purpose of the spots! Neat post!

Bird Girl said...

Yes, who would've thought that those speckles just strengthened the eggs! Some kids might have popped that egg right in their mouth - thinking it was candy ;-) Wow - lots of yolk!

Kilauea Poetry said...

Great post..what a cute photo! How interesting about those speckles and how you tied this in with the Ostrich! Clever! Thanks for your warm comments on my blog too! Do stop by again- have a wonderful day!

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