The Egg Inspector

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In our long-standing tradition of bringing forth new and unusual information about our animal neighbors the Director and instructors here at The Institute would like to unveil a new program. It is called Our Animal Friends At Work or OAFAW. Periodically we will feature the occupations of our animal neighbors and highlight their activities and responsibilities.

Given the sheer size of our collective national parks, monuments, refuges, natural areas and other places where the public can come and view the scenic wonders and abundant animal life, humans cannot perform all the jobs required to maintain and keep these areas in working order. Consequently some of these operations have to be delegated to our animal partners.

Our first featured guest employee is a hard-working dedicated individual who is in charge of a very important position at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in Utah. Meet Chief Inspector Long-tailed Weasel, or simply LT as he is known to his colleagues. He has a very important job here at the refuge in maintaining the integrity and quality of the eggs that are produced by all the different species of migrating birds that stop off here at the refuge on their way to somewhere else.

Literally thousands and thousands of migrating birds pass through the refuge and many will stop off and lay their eggs in nests, depressions in the ground, nests hanging from the bullrushes ringing the shoreline, or for those who can’t be bothered just laying them anywhere they happen to feel like. Without supervision and guidance there is ample opportunity for mishap or just a general lessening of quality of the eggs produced here. That’s where LT the Egg Inspector comes in.

He works tirelessly but ceaselessly, observing, locating and entering every nest he can to check the egg clusters integrity. When he finds a nest his first job is to check on the eggs within for quantity, color, size, conformation, shell integrity, and the well-being of the contents inside the egg. This he does by performing a procedure called CIOEIU (pronounced SEE-Oh-E-EEW)  or Cracking It Open, Eating It Up. If in his opinion the egg contents bear further investigation he will proceed to perform CIOEIU on each egg in the nest until he is sure the viability of the eggs is correct. This is a thankless task as he gets little or no support from the owners of the nest, in fact he is harassed and discouraged from performing his duties at every nest he checks. But he perseveres because that is his job and he must perform it regardless of public opinion.

There are many selfless dedicated animal volunteers that perform thankless tasks like this every day of the year to keep our natural areas open and operating at peak efficiency. Without them we would be overcome with problems that we would be hard pressed to solve ourselves, so we thank you Chief Inspector Long-tailed Weasel and all others like you for doing what needs to be done. Because of you Nature is a better place.