I spent most of the day today working in the RRBO library. Custom-made, built-in bookshelves are finally finished, and so I am working each day sorting through boxes and files that have been waiting in storage.
In that process, I came across an envelope containing a few of the original collection labels from a ca. 1800s egg collection that the original RRBO had (that collection was donated to a museum when the first RRBO closed). But a few of these labels remained in the library.
This one is a little difficult to read, but it is for eggs collected from a Tufted Puffin on May 22, 1887 in the “Farallone Islands, Pacific Ocean.” Under Identification, it says: “bird flushed.” Incubation: “Advanced.”
Nest: “no attempt at one. Egg laid in a long cleft of a rocky ridge some four ft. in. Both sexes incubate. This island is 32 miles from San Fancisco, Cal.”
This is more of a note than a collection label. It says: “Great horned owl, collected 1.26.1934 near Avalon Groves, Winter Garden, Fla. in a pine tree about 40 ft. up, said nest formerly used by bald eagle, incubation 1/4, A.O.U. (blank line). This will or should be my last climb with irony as I soon will be 57 years, nest was so large I had to climb out and around to get to the top. Preston & Colline’s baby born this 9 A.M. B. A. Carpenter.”
Though I don’t agree with the early methods of ornithology, you have to admire their spunk. I shudder to think how many birds, hatched and not, lost their lives in the name of science! It amazes me sometimes that human beings can be so ignorant while professing to be so smart.
Of course, egg collecting is illegal today. Thank goodnes!