Take a peek into the secret world of bird eggs

In the spring and summer, all over cottage country, birds lay eggs in the privacy of their nests. They come in more shapes, sizes, and colours than you’d dream, from the tiny eggs of the ruby-throated hummingbird to the 145-gram orb produced by the common loon. We rarely see these lovely offerings in the wild, and that’s as it should be, since bird families are at their most vulnerable during this intimate time. In fact, it’s against the law to disturb nesting birds or to touch or take their eggs—except for strictly regulated scientific purposes, such as museum and ornithological research collections. But that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate nature’s exquisite packaging of new life.

This article is excerpted from a story originally published in the May ’07 issue of Cottage Life.

Read more: Frequently asked questions about birds’ nests

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