Surprising Design of a Bird's Egg

Sitting in the apartment and looking at the porch outside, we see our feathered customers at the bird feeders. Sometimes they get a mite contentious, and other times we see them taking the food and feeding each other. Downy woodpeckers and their cousins the nuthatches stop by to remind us that they're cute. Blue jays like peanuts, and the red-bellied woodpecker stops by for a snack on his way home from work. It's funny to watch the tufted titmouse carry off a peanut. They all have many things in common, and one of those is that they hatched out of eggs.

A bird's egg is a marvel of the Master Engineer's design.
Credit: Unsplash / Soner Eker
Most of us know that eggs are in the nest (with the startling exception of the malleefowl), the young develop and eventually hatch. Research reveals that the Master Engineer designed the egg itself to provide for the hatchling-in-waiting. Eggs have a great deal of calcium, but the chick needs it. So, the shell provides the necessary ingredient, softening in the process for the inhabitant's eventual escape.
[W]e quoted Thomas Higginson who in 1862 wagered that a bird’s egg should be voted “the most perfect thing in the universe.” His opinion received support recently from researchers from Montreal, Canada, who took a closer look at eggshells. Publishing their work in the open-access journal Science Advances, they found that eggshells are dynamic structures, that begin hard to prevent breakage while the mother bird incubates them, but gradually soften near hatching time so that the chick can peck its way out. The science was advanced online by Nature, and included a video clip from the research that reveals the fine structure of the eggshell.
There are many fascinating things about the evolution-refuting design of the bird's egg, and the article also gives some other interesting avian facts as well. To read the entire article (and see some nice pictures of birds), click on "The Information Packed Into a Bird Egg".