Thursday, June 7, 2012 9:29pm CDT


72 degrees F     Partly Cloudy     Calm


Ok, the retrieval of the remains of the egg went smoother than I had hoped.  Even though I had to wait for quite awhile for the loon and chick to move away and to find what felt like the right time to do it.

I was able to get it all done just before it got dark.

I was hoping to get a couple pictures before I took it off the nest but it was too dark to get a decent shot.

All of it happened without the loon being concerned or upset in the least, for which I am very grateful.  And that is why I waited.  The loon and the chick were some way out in the lake beyond the swimming raft.  The loon obviously saw me.  But he made no movement toward the nest.  He showed no sign of concern.  He made no call or noise of any kind.

I don't know if the microphone was working at the time but I tried to give you a description of what I was seeing and what I was doing.  I tried to keep my voice low, once again to keep from upsetting the loon in any way.

The egg indeed had been smashed and the yellow we saw was a combination of the yolk and the egg white.  But they were not separate or distinct at all.  They were an even pale yellow and were of a creamy consistency almost like a very creamy custard.

I imagine part of that is from the egg sitting baking in the hot sun day after day.

I expected there to be a very strong rotten egg smell.  But there was not.  The odor was slight but not entirely unpleasant.  Not that I would want to smell it a lot but it certainly was not the rotten egg smell that I expected.

There was no sign whatsoever that the egg had started to develop or that there was any blood or anything that looked like a chick.  So I have to believe that the egg was infertile and that from day one there was never any hope for a chick from this egg.

So in some ways, this might be the best ending of any difficult endings.

There never was a chick developing in the egg.  We did not lose a chick at some point.  To me the worst would have been to find that there was a chick that was almost full-term that had died in the egg.

And we did not have to make the difficult decision of when or if to remove the egg from the nest.

So we take it for what it is.  It is nature.  It happens.  And once again we have had the privilege of watching it up close, as difficult as that is sometimes.

This is the first time I have ever seen anything like this happen.

Through the years, we have had three eggs that never hatched.

But never a case like this where the loons actually broke the egg on the nest.

We will now freeze the egg remains and work with the biologists to see if there is still information that can be salvaged from the remains.

I will keep you up-to-date with any results.

Thank you all once again for your wonderful desire to learn along with us.

But it is not over yet.

We still have a beautiful little chick out there with a whole life ahead of him!


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Copyright  2012   Larry Backlund