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[Sparrows] Blowing eggs and breakthrough success

November 22, 2012

[This is the eighth in a series of posts on sparrow nest-monitoring over the 2012-2013 Austral spring and summer]

This morning, I woke early and pulled out my toolbox. I had about ten collected Song Thrush and European Blackbird eggs, and it was time to hollow them.

It turns out that, if you wish to hollow out Thrush or Blackbird eggs, the best technique is to puncture each end of the egg, quickly, using a needle or thin nail, seal your lips around the smaller hole and blow gently to force out all of the contents. Now, because I have an unbecoming concern for the suffering of animals, all the eggs I have collected are from abandoned nests. That is, nests that had cold, dead eggs in them. There was a certain… slightly rotten aspect to some of them. Sealing my lips and blowing out was not the *most* pleasant thing to do with my morning, is what I’m saying.

Ah. The things we do for ethics.

Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos) egg

A nicely hollowed-out, but distinctly un-tasty, Song Thrush egg

Truth be told: sparrow-monitoring has not been going well so far. I have found sparrow nests, but they have all been in tiny inaccessible crevices of buildings, or at extreme height, and I haven’t been able to get any experimentally treated.

This morning, after vigorously brushing my teeth and face in general, I decided to change tactics. I had heard that there are free-standing House Sparrow nests near the Miranda Shorebird Centre, so I called them up, chatted briefly, and then drove the hour-and-twenty down there.

Immediate, wild success! The sparrow nests are right above the carpark, and there are ladders that can be borrowed, and the nests are in trees, and are therefore accessible! I have datasheets on three nests, and have found hatchlings in two more. This is clearly the appropriate place to be!

Sparrow eggs for monitoring

Sparrow eggs, nicely numbered for individual monitoring. Raging success!

If I’m allowed to convert my fuel coverage into accomodation coverage, I might head down to Miranda and spend the next several weeks in a bunkroom there. Woo!


From → Scientist

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