Bird Eggs

eggs_001Vintage book plate with a number of different bird eggs. The little numbers around the edge of the picture were used to identify each species of bird.

The book did not identify an illustrator when it was published in 1913. The book was called Birds’ Nests, Eggs and Egg-Collecting.

Egg number one, the one at the top, is from a Jay. Lady jays typically lay five or six eggs in nests built from sticks, small twigs, small fibrous roots, and grass. They are members of the crow family and are found throughout England and Wales.

Bird egg number two, is second from the bottom on the left-hand side. It’s a sparrow’s egg. She lays five or six eggs, of a dirty white, covered with black or dark brown spots.

A Jackdaw laid the third egg. Jackdaws are black birds that are in the crow family. The Jackdaw prefers to build her nest in quiet, hidden places like the towers of churches, the ruins of old castles and abbeys, hollow trees, rocks, and chalk pits. She uses sticks, straw, hay, feathers hair and wool to build her nest. She lays 3-6 pale green-blue, spotted eggs.

Number four is the egg of the Grouse. They lay on average of 8 eggs but can lay many as 15. However, sometimes two birds build their nests very close together. They dig a slight hollow in the ground and line it with heather or bent.

Five is from a Kestrel. They generally lay 4-7 eggs. The lady Kestrel generally makes no nest at all, but scratches a hollow in the soft earth on a ledge of rock situated on high mountain or sea-cliffs. The deserted nest of the crow is sometimes utilised.

A robin laid egg number 6. This beautiful little bird, the favourite of English children, builds her nest in walls and banks, where roots and moss abound. It is composed of moss, fibrous roots, and leaves, and is sometimes lined with hair. She lays five or six eggs.

Egg seven is from a Redpoll. Redpolls are in the finch family with a bit of red on their heads and chests. They tend to lay 4-5 eggs. She makes her nest of hay and moss, lined inside with willow-down, and finishes it off in the most beautiful manner. She builds her nest in willows, alders, and other bushes that fringe streams and ponds in mountainous districts.

A Ringdove or Barbary Dove laid egg 8. The Ringdove is a pretty grey color with a dark ring around her neck. She makes a somewhat sloppy nest in the low branches of fir, yew or other trees. Sometimes she builds in ivy, but again stays low to the ground. She lays only two white eggs.

And last, but not least, egg number 9 was laid by a Wryneck, a small woodpecker. The 5-8 eggs of this bird are laid in a nest constructed in the holes of tree trunks. It is made of dry, rotten wood, which is ground down to a kind of powder, and it has been found lined with moss and feathers.

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