Speckled Egg Mystery

These speckled eggs are a mystery. Some years ago, a collection of bird eggs was given to my place of work, a nature center. (It is illegal now to make or possess such a collection without a permit.) This collection is from around 1902, according to a date written on the case. The eggs were collected in the Maine and New Hampshire area. This collection case contains eggs of two dozen species. The eggs were laid in a bed of cottony stuffing, with labels typed on little paper strips, laid next to the eggs without any further security. Unfortunately, the eggs and their associated identification labels have migrated away from each other over time. So, we know what’s in the case, but we don’t know what is what. And that is assuming the eggs were correctly identified in the first place.

The label closest to these four eggs was “downy woodpecker.” Downy woodpeckers are cavity nesters, and have the typical white eggs of cavity nesters, so that is not right. They are pretty good sized eggs, too large for many of the smaller song birds. I’m thinking something more blackbird sized, perhaps brown-headed cowbird. Of course, brown-speckled eggs are a pretty common pattern shared by many species, which is what makes this challenging. If you think you know, feel free to comment.

By the way, this post marks the beginning of the third month of my 2013 One Picture a Day challenge. I have taken at least one new photograph and posted it to this photoblog every day since January 1.

Photographically there’s nothing to write home about this image. This was simply a documentary photograph. I was looking for clean, sharp and well-lit. It could use more depth of field. The camera was a Nikon D90, with a 60mm Micro-Nikkor lens, and a Nikon SB-600 Speedlight with an alcohol bottle diffuser.

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