Photo © Keith Williams
Photo © Bloomsbury Publishing

The Most Perfect Thing

“I think that, if required on pain of death to name instantly the most perfect thing in the universe, I should risk my fate on a bird’s egg.” –Thomas Wentworth Higginson, 1862

How are eggs of different shapes made, and why are they the shape they are? When does the shell of an egg harden? Why do some eggs contain two yolks? How are the colors and patterns of an eggshell created, and why do they vary? And which end of an egg is laid first—the blunt end or the pointy end?

These are just some of the questions The Most Perfect Thing: Inside (and Outside) a Bird’s Egg answers, as the journey of a bird’s egg from creation and fertilization to its eventual hatching is examined, with current scientific knowledge placed within an historical context. Acclaimed ornithologist Tim Birkhead examines eggs ranging from the domestic chicken to the stunning eggs of the guillemot, revealing weird and wonderful facts about these miracles of nature. NestWatchers will find this new book to be an illuminating and engaging exploration of the science behind eggs and the history of humanity’s obsession with collecting them.