Nature’s Easter Eggs

eggsWith many of us dying Easter eggs this week, I got curious about eggs that are naturally colored. We’ve raised chickens (Ameraucanas) that laid turquoise-to-olive eggs; our current flock of Black Sex-links lay in shades of tan. In fact, I usually have to buy white eggs at the store in order to achieve those pastel Easter hues.

But what about other kinds of birds? For instance, why do American Robins lay blue eggs, Burrowing Owls lay white eggs, while the American Golden Plover lays eggs that look like ovoid granite rocks, with big, black speckles on a white background? How and why do eggs come in so many colors?

Continue reading “Nature’s Easter Eggs”

Why Move?

dark-eyed-junco_blkforest-co_lah_4174The seasons have changed. The grosbeaks, hummingbirds, and other birds of summer have left for more tropical climates, but they’ve been replaced. Ducks, loons and grebes that spent the summer in the far north are showing up on local ponds. Rough-legged Hawks sit where Swainson’s hung out a month or two ago. Sandhill Cranes are headed for their winter feeding grounds in New Mexico. Instead of Chipping Sparrows at my millet feeders, I have flocks of Juncos.

Since the actual number of birds doesn’t really seem to change that much, I often wonder why birds bother to migrate at all. If Juncos can survive the winter here, why not Chipping Sparrows? Continue reading “Why Move?”