Saturday, April 19, 2008

Green Eggs, but no Ham

We’ve been clearing a lot of our backyard. We try to imagine that we’re pioneers settling new land, but we’re rudely brought back to the present by the trash of those folks who lived on this land before us. Amongst the vine covered trees and fragmite, we’ve found wayward car parts, piles of discarded shingles, errant golf balls and even a lonely Christmas tree stand.

So last weekend when I was wielding my favorite power tool (hedge trimmers*) with what some might call reckless abandon, I wasn’t surprised to hit into something that wasn’t plant or tree. But was horrified to find what I did hit – a nest of eggs.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned how sharp the hedge trimmers are – very. In fact, when choosing them at our local farm store, I sliced Michael’s jacket. Doesn’t everyone try out trimmers in the store without the protective cover? Needless to say, we were sold on the spot.

Back to the eggs. The jacket fared better than the two eggs on top. However, the five underneath were in perfect shape – and the shape was just like a chicken egg, but larger and an off green color. Michael and I were clearly not going back to yard work when we had a mystery on our hands. What bird lays eggs in the ground and leaves them? Other than the obvious answer of a stupid bird, we decided to explore further. Because the two eggs on top were broken, we looked inside to see if we could see any pre-animal shape. Nope, just like any other egg we’ve opened. Strike one.

Could it be a heron? And if so, I should probably get a new name for “Harry.” But, no, strike two. Heron eggs are light blue and herons smartly build nests in trees.

Turtles? We were pretty excited at this possibility. We’ve already had three new turtles in the pond this year. That excitement was short lived as turtle eggs are small, much smaller than what we found. Strike three.

So we went inside and turned to the internet. We found a bird in the UK that was known to lay green eggs. Strike four (if you’re still counting)… location ruled us out for that one.

After looking at a lot of pictures and doing a bit more research, the eggs are probably from a duck. And, we’ve had two male ducks following a female duck around the pond lately... definitely adds credibility to this theory. We originally thought the ducks had abandoned the nest, but it turns out that ducks will lay an egg every couple of days and only sit on the nest after she has a full “clutch.” So, we’ve left the eggs there hoping she’ll come back.

Still, I was hoping they were dinosaur eggs and fancied Kent Island as Jurassic Park. But ducks are nice, too.

* little sidebar on the hedge trimmers -- a birthday present from Michael a couple of years ago. Oh, and don’t laugh, he got a chainsaw that year. I came out way ahead in that deal!

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