Oology. I love the sound of that word. It slides across my tongue like luscious, cool yogurt. Oology–the study of nests and eggs–also refers to the hobby of collecting wild bird eggs. That sounds like a bizarre hobby (right up there with 'beetle fighting'), but before powerful binoculars were developed, egg collecting was a significant source of scientific data.
In the U.K., collecting of this sort is now illegal, as the hobby has lead to the endangerment and extinction of certain bird species. If you want to keep a clutch of wild bird eggs, you better have proof that they were gathered before 1954 and never intend to sell your collection. Heck, even museums don’t want them! Oology activity is also restricted heavily Stateside–considered a criminal act, in some cases. We can only hope other nations follow suit.
Yes, the practice stinks, but not the collected eggs. To prevent rot, eggs are “blown” through a tiny hole in the shell, emptying its contents. I recall my own mom doing this during the Easter holidays to retain her beautifully decorated creations. That craft has been carried forward from ancient cultures, and it is now an artform involving domesticated eggs.
When I first learned about oologists and their illegal collections, I was angry with them. Further research, however, led to a measure of sympathy. Many oologists are compulsively addicted to the trade, requiring in-depth treatment to break the habit. Strange but true. The Audubon Society provides surprising insight into the impacts and affliction of oology. Read more about it here. To rent/buy the actual film on YouTube, click here.
This blog is where I post my inspirations for each book in the Barrington Bay series as well as behind-the-scenes tips, pics, and other tidbits. Feel free to click 'Read More' for in-depth posts.