You may recall that my mom and her friend, Jo Anne, have a bluebird trail with a dozen or so bluebird boxes that they monitor and maintain. From early February until the bluebirds move on around August, they walk the mile and a half long trail every week recording the activity in each box. Sometimes there's nothing. Other times, they spot the start of a nest that over a couple of weeks becomes a full nest. Once the nest is full, they wait, like excited grandmothers, for the arrival of EGGS!
Mostly, bluebirds lay smooth blue eggs, a bit darker and more evenly tinted than the sky blue eggs we find in our Easter baskets. What I have learned during my apprenticeship to these master naturalists (yes, they do call me "Wart" in honor of my apprenticeship status, and yes, they have made me start on the bottom rung, carrying the heavy items and doing the less status-filled tasks.) is that not all blue bird eggs come out blue. Some are milky white. And incredibly, inside the lady bird's egg making apparatus, all of the eggs are white. The eggs get their color or in some cases keep their whiteness as they slide through the egg-laying canal (Sorry, I am a little weak on bird anatomy terminology).
We have had a very slow start to the bluebird season, perhaps because of the unusually cold and late winter and heavy spring rains (the same factors have negatively affected the monarch butterfly migration), and we are running about a month behind past patterns. Yesterday, we spotted the first hatchlings:
They don't even look like they could survive a minute, but they will.
We also interrupted a mother. She didn't fly away when we knocked on the box. She didn't spit invectives at us, then quickly depart when we opened her door. She just sat there, beak opened, panting. I recognized the breathing pattern from my lamaze class. We had disturbed her in the midst of laying an egg. Quelle embarrassment! We quickly re-secured the door.
Actually, that's not true. I whipped out my phone and took a picture, then shut the door. I never planned on becoming a paparazzi, but the moment was too amazing to let pass . . .