Scientists have taken to egg swapping in the hopes of reinvigorating the ailing population of streaked horned larks in Washington state.
The streaked horned lark is a small bird native to both western Washington and Oregon currently on the candidate list of endangered specied according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Washington population of the bird has decreased significantly in recent years to due a lack of genetic diversity and inbreeding. To turn this trend around wildlife biologists are taking healthy eggs from Oregon’s Willamette Valley and swapping them with the sickly eggs from native Washington larks. The hope is to inject the population with some much needed healthy new blood and to revive this species on the brink.
Thus far the project seems to be working, as many of the test mothers have taken to their adopted young as if they were their own, but only time will tell if it’s enough to save the species.