Spring in Maine: Seabirds and the Beauty of Camouflage

Decorative eggs are often associated with bright or pastel colors, however Mother Nature has provided many bird species with their own naturally beautiful eggs. Just because they are drab and camouflaged does not make them boring, in my view. Plus, those neat little packages will hopefully develop into exquisite, wild birds some day.

In May and June terns will return to their Gulf of Maine nesting sites to lay 1-3 eggs in a nest that really isn’t a nest; they are called scrapes. A scrape is most likely to appear as a dent on a ledge with perhaps a few scraps of vegetation or pieces of shell to highlight the landmark. Until there are eggs, most would go completely unnoticed without the presence of one of the nesting adults.

Even after there are eggs, biologists and volunteers on seabird islands must tread very carefully. I was lucky to have the privilege to volunteer on a nesting island in Casco Bay last spring. It was like a constant egg hunt and made me slow my life into a mindful, studious pace. Finding a scrape in an unsuspecting place was always a treat. My reward was taking photos of these eggs. Yes, I think they are fancy.