Peewit egg find heralds spring
The first peewit egg of the year was found in Gelderland Wednesday around midday on a plot of land in the area of Delwijnen in the municipality of Zaltbommel. The egg discovery signals the coming of spring, and is a deeply rooted in Dutch history. Finding the first egg of the peewit, or Northern Lapwing, of the plover family, is a Dutch tradition. Historically, whoever found the first peewit egg, or eerste kievitsei, could offer it to the Queen. The province of Friesland has been given special EU permission for the gathering of peewit eggs, which is actually prohibited by the EU. The egg was found by a member of a meadow bird protection group. Landscape Maintenance Netherlands has controlled the egg, and confirmed it to be fresh.
The finder did not take the egg home, only aaisykers (a Frisian colloquial term for egg seekers) can do that. They have been granted special permission to gather, under strict regulations, 5693 eggs in March. This discovery of the peewit egg is very early in the year, but this is not unique. The first egg of 2008 was already found on the 3rd of March. It also often happens that the first egg is found outside of Frieland. Gelderland also had the first egg last year. The eggs are found earlier in that region because it lies to the south of Friesland, where birds begin breeding earlier.