By counting and measuring the major ova of breeding birds at autopsy and combining these data with time intervals between ovipositions, rough estimates have been made of the time required to form yolk in some non-captive birds (King 1973). Direct studies have been made in domestic fowl (Gallus gallus var. domesticus; Gilbert 1972), turkeys (Meleagris galloparvo; Bacon and Cherms 1968), and Common quail (Coturnix coturnix; Bacon and Koontz 1971), by feeding the birds a capsule containing dye each day, and counting dye rings in the yolks after the eggs have been hardcooked. Recently developed methods of fixing and staining eggs have revealed differences in yolk deposited during day and night, thus permitting another estimation of the number of days during which yolk was deposited, and without direct contact with the female (Grau 1976). In eggs from chickens and quail that have been fed dyes, yolk that stained darkly with dichromate was shown to be deposited during the active daytime feeding periods, while pale-staining yolk was deposited during the night. Thus, pairs of light and dark rings, which together take a day to be deposited, may be counted to estimate time of yolk formation.
In the present study we have applied the yolk ring method of estimating the number of days during which the bulk of the yolk is deposited around the central white core (Grau 1976) to the eggs of some shorebirds, gulls, terns and alcids.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Yolk formation in some Charadriiform birds|
|Series title||The Condor|
|Publisher||Cooper Ornithological Society|
|Contributing office(s)||Alaska Science Center|