These eggs may know more about the world outside than they’re letting on. Kichigin/Shutterstock A bird’s nest is a hub of communication. There are the squeaks and chirps of hatchlings clamoring for food. And mom telling them to hush when a predator rears its head. But now scientists say that level of communication begins long before the babies even hatch. A study published this week in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution finds bird embryos chat with each other — using vibrations — while still inside the egg. And, as a result, they know when it’s safe to hatch or if they should bide their time in the comfort and relative safety of their shells. To test that theory, a team of biologists from Spain’s University of Vigo looked to birds that hatch in a particularly precarious setting: Sálvora Island, off the country’s Galician coast. A popular mating spot for yellow-legged gulls, the island is also home to a population of minks with a taste for baby birds. As such, knowing when to break out of one’s shell is a matter of life and death. For their experiment, researchers carefully gathered sea bird eggs and organized them into test […]

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