Sunday, April 03, 2011

Sleuthing

Aine came running into the house this afternoon carrying a tiny piece of eggshell. She found it lying on the ground right by our patio. It was a blue egg with brown speckles on it. While we were examining it, Eamon and Dave returned from a hike. Eamon quickly joined in the exploration of the shell fragment. He and Aine starting speculating on the type of bird responsible for the egg. They thought it may have been laid by a mourning dove or a grackle. I suggested that they check out one of our field guides.
Eamon grabbed A Guide to Southern Arizona Bird Nests & Eggs from the bookshelf. Quickly turning pages, they discovered that a Mourning Dove lays plain white eggs. This did not fit their eggshell. In the middle of the book, they discovered two pages of egg illustrations. The pictures were in color, and the illustrations actual size. This helped narrow the search. Quickly they found their eggshell and learned that it came from a Great-Tailed Grackle. We read a bit about the bird and its nesting habits. Dave led them outside. It took a minute, but they soon spotted the nest. They wondered if some of the eggs survived, and if we will have a nest full of grackle chicks soon. We plan to just wait and see.

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