Friday, April 21, 2006

Should we test the eggs?

Betty Jo in California wrote yesterday about Pale Male and Lola's nest:

Dear Marie,
. . .

If it is true that the nest has failed --and maybe she could still have one chick--a later egg--we in this household think the eggs should be examined and the shells tested for chemicals etc. That kind of testing was the proof for the legal case against DDT. Pergegrine eggs are still thinning and failing to hatch at Moro Bay. Pale Male is too profound a symbol to let this go on. He has become more than an individual hawk, but is now a link to the wild world for millions.

Thanks for your oh so interesting web site.

Betty Jo

I answered:
The trouble is that PM & Lola will continue to sit and exchange places on the eggs, etc. for a few more weeks--maybe three. That's what they did last year when the eggs didn't hatch, and that's what happened in 1993 and 1994, before the first successful hatching of '95.

I am very against doing anything to retrieve the eggs until the hawks choose to abandon the nest. For one thing the pair would be dangerously aggressive to anyone coming near in any effort to retrieve the eggs. And for another it would be unnecessarily stressful for our much-loved pair.

Once they have left, of course, efforts will be made to retrieve the eggs.