Monday, 26 August 2013

Sometimes we lose

This turtle dove egg had been feasted upon most likely by a crow or magpie. Like a soft boiled hen's egg that we gingerly remove the lid from, the top 1/4 inch was laying a short distance away. The predator had stolen the egg and as any thief is wont to do, would have run off with its prize. Away from prying eyes, the thief would have landed in a secluded spot, sliced off the lid and devoured the rest. The egg measured around 1 3/4 inches - quite a cargo to carry in a beak! As Hercule Poirot would have deduced himself, the thief was probably larger than a sparrow. Interestingly, predator birds do not smash open eggs but ensure that there is minimum spillage of the precious contents by making sure a greater portion of the eggshell is retained after opening. Foresight honed by experience- not dissimilar to humans on a good day.

"The best laid schemes of mice and men / Often go awry." (John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men).

Not everything works out according to the most cast-iron plans or even our best intentions. There will always be a more astute and cunning predator with a razor-like, precision-cutting beak who will outsmart us. The turtle dove carries on regardless, its dainty character unchanged and on a summer's evening can be heard purring gently, as it always does.

Photo copyright SvD.

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