This is a skylark’s egg. The skylark is, like its egg, a rather dull-looking thing, being mainly brown above and paler below. Larks spend a lot of time on the ground looking for food and they have sturdy legs. They make their nest on the earth too, disguised by the surrounding grass.
In the UK skylark numbers have declined over the last 30 years. There are now only 10% of the numbers that were present in the 1970s. The RSPB have shown that this massive decline is mainly due to changes in farming practices and only partly due to pesticides.
Despite its dependence on the earth most people think of the lark as a bird of the dawn and the air. They are renowned for the song of the male birds, which is delivered in hovering flight from heights of 50 to 100 meters, when a bird appears to be just a dot in the sky. In English literature they are frequently likened to angels:
‘Mighty angel’ (Blake)
‘Oh singing lark,
That singest like an angel in the clouds!’ (Coleridge)
‘Ethereal minstrel’ (Wordsworth)
It seems an appropriate bird for the morning of the resurrection. Who knows … Jesus could have heard one, as the species is found in the Holy Land. Sadly, with an appalling lack of irony, one of the latest surveillence drones used by the Israeli Army is called a Skylark. They were used in last year’s invasion of Lebanon.
‘When Jesus' followers saw what was going to happen, they said, "Lord, should we strike with our swords?" And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. But Jesus answered, "No more of this!" And he touched the man's ear and healed him.’
(Luke 22. 49-51)
‘Father, we ask that this Easter will be a time of peace – in our hearts and in the world around us, for which are responsible. Amen.’