Bird Camp Dispatch 4

A. called briefly on Saturday to report a proud accomplishment. Remember the egg-probing process I described here? One reason that this is such a delicate process is because birds are notoriously picky about their eggs. Though the old legend about human smell being enough to cause birds to reject eggs/chicks (you know, the reason your mother told you not to pick up a baby bird to put it back in its nest?) is apparently not true (otherwise A.’s work would be impossible, if you think about it), apparently some birds will clue in on some aspect of the probe set-up – maybe a problem with the super-glue seal, maybe the wire not being hidden well enough – and will kick the egg out of the nest.

And some birds are pickier than others, with the red-faced warbler being one of the pickiest of all. A. told me that Bird Camp personnel have never before probed a red-faced warbler’s egg without the probe being detected and the egg rejected within hours in relatively short order. But, as of Saturday, an A.-seated probe in a red-faced warbler’s egg was on its second day of recording data, which may be a new record.

Also, one of the crew members who left has been replaced by an Englishman.

Also also, I just discovered that there may have been some problem with Bird Camp Dispatch 3 being visible to all readers, but I think I fixed the problem. Let me know if you can’t see it, though.