by Salvatore Salerno

Stanislaus Audubon volunteers had completed the 2022 Western Bluebird nest box survey at the San Joaquin River N.W.R. I came upon a clutch of bluebird eggs that had failed to hatch due to extreme heat, including four consecutive days that had attained to 104 degrees or more.

Sal Salerno (left) and Arnold Chavez (right)

I contacted Arnold Chavez, Director of Great Valley Museum, to ask if he would like to accept and prepare this clutch for museum use.  He replied that G.V.M. already had a sizable number of eggs donated by professionals with permits. He wondered if Stanislaus Audubon would be willing to inventory that collection. I told them it was possible to do so, if he would reciprocate by preparing a case that included eggs of some of the breeding birds from Stanislaus County. 

Our task was to process 679 eggs, each of which had to be measured, confirmed as to species, and entered into the database of the Great Valley Museum. During twenty visits to the Curation Room, I worked with my team of other Audubon volunteers from August 12 to November 9, 2022.  The localized case of eggs has been displayed for the public at such events as Salmon Festival, Science Day, and Pollinator Festival.

In 2024, our website designer Jim Gain worked in the Curation Room, photographing the eggs of the forty-four species of Stanislaus breeding birds, and then entered them into this beautiful display for your enjoyment and education.