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As we go into the Easter weekend, kids are hand painting and dying eggs all colors of the rainbow in preparation for the hunt on Sunday. This tradition is not only a fun art project but can become an educational opportunity as well.

Although most of the eggs we get from the supermarket are white or brown, in nature birds can produce beautifully colored and interestingly speckled eggs. It is thought that these different colors can help birds who nest on the ground to camouflage their eggs. The colors disguise eggs from predators, or distinguish them from the mimic eggs of other birds. Scientists also believe that the speckling on the eggs may help strengthen the shell.

Here are some colorful examples of wild bird eggs:

(Incidentally, the old-growth redwood-dwelling marbled murrelet lays beautiful blue speckled eggs, but they are so reclusive there aren’t many images available. You can check one out here or do an internet search.)

So this year, why not dye your eggs like the eggs produced by the birds in your area? Or, color them to camouflage with the place where they will be hidden. This adds an extra challenge and educational component to the egg hunt experience!

To see more beautiful bird eggs, visit the Gallery of California Natural Sciences at the Oakland Museum and check out their egg draws.

It’s the time of year when birds are laying their eggs. To see the whole process, check out the Humboldt bald eagle live web cam. Looks like the female is sitting on some eggs now!


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About Deborah Zierten

Deborah joined the League's staff in 2013 as the Education & Interpretation Manager. She brings with her extensive experience teaching science, developing curriculum and connecting kids to the natural world.


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