The first Eastern Bluebird nestling to hatch in this nest, just out of the shell. The photo shows how the nestling was curled up inside the shell. The mother will probably eat the eggshell (it contains calcium and removing it helps avoid attracting ants, etc.)
This photo was taken without a flash, in case the light can harm the eyes of nestlings. Since the young develop in a dark cavity, it's possible that bright light could affect their eyesight. Since I don't know one way or the other, I'm not taking any chances (first do no harm!) Photo by Bet Zimmerman.
You cannot begin to preserve any species of animal unless you preserve the habitat in which it dwells. Disturb or destroy that habitat and you will exterminate the species as surely as if you had shot it. So conservation means that you have to preserve forest and grassland, river and lake, even the sea itself. This is vital not only for the preservation of animal life generally, but for the future existence of man himself—a point that seems to escape many people.
-Gerald Durrell, The Nature Conservancy
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