The spring season is months away, but you can expect innumerable birds to lay their eggs everywhere when it comes. It is inevitable to find a seemingly abandoned bird egg during these times. The question of what to do if you find a bird egg demands an answer. This post will provide you with the answers you need. We will discuss the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and how to take care of birds if you need to take care of them.
What to Do with Abandoned Bird Eggs?
Leave the Bird Egg
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 makes it illegal to take or own anything from a wild bird species. It is unlawful to take a nest or part of a bird; removing a wild bird egg from its natural environment is illegal. The ramifications of breaking this law are jail time for up to six months and a $15,000 fine.
Why does such a law exist?
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act is meant to protect the birds. Most of the time, people who take anything from wild birds use them for their self-interests. For example, people in other countries use bird eggs for exotic dishes.
Another way that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act protects birds in case of abandoned eggs is because taking care of eggs is not easy. Trying to get a seemingly abandoned egg to hatch will very likely cause the egg just to die. It will have a better chance of survival if you just leave it alone.
And even if, against all odds, you get the egg to hatch, taking care of a hatchling is another complicated matter. Again, its chances of survival will be very slim.
The last reason you should probably leave the bird egg alone is that it is perhaps not in any danger. Some bird species, such as hermit thrushes, some sparrow species, warblers, larks, or meadowlarks, lay their eggs on the ground. So if you find their eggs on the ground and pick them up, you are just endangering the egg.
Besides, if the egg came from a tree and dropped to the floor below, the chances of it being damaged are high. Even if you can’t see any visible cracks on the egg, the embryo within is already probably dead.
Sometimes eggs are not even abandoned at all. If you are wondering “why do birds abandon their nests with eggs?” It is because birds need to feed. A bird will sometimes leave the nest for a short time to hunt or forage for food.
Call the Local Wildlife Rehabilitator
If you find a bird egg in the wild, the best that you can do is to call your local wildlife rehabilitator. Wildlife rehabilitators are better equipped by far to attempt making an abandoned egg hatch. They have the resources and knowledge to help a hatchling survive into adulthood.
Contact your local wildlife rehabilitator to see if they are interested in attempting to hatch the egg. However, you should be aware that some rehabilitators only take in eggs of endangered bird species.
If the rehabilitator is indeed interested in the egg, don’t take the egg to the rehabilitation facility. Instead, direct the staff of the wildlife rehab to the egg. This way, the chances of the egg’s survival are higher.
What if the ONLY Option is to Attempt to Hatch the Egg?
What if there is no other way to ensure the bird’s survival is to take care of it yourself? You first have to know that the bird egg is still alive. So, knowing if a bird egg is still alive is a pretty important question.
How to Know if a Bird Egg is Still Alive?
- A bird egg is still if it has all the following signs:
- It is warm
- It is unbroken
- When under bright light, there are visible veins
- Visible signs of movement while incubating the egg
How to Take Care of Bird Eggs?
Once you have established that the bird is still alive, prepare yourself mentally and physically for the challenging methods of taking care of it.
Know the species. Do your research and find out the species of the bird egg. You can use its colour, size, and geographical location to narrow down your research. Discovering the bird species gives you vital information, such as how long you should incubate the egg or the temperature required for incubation. You can also learn its diet as a hatchling and all the other specifics of taking care of it.
Get the appropriate materials. I suggest getting an electronic incubator with different settings and a fan. The more automated the incubator is, the easier it will be to incubate the egg until it hatches.
Prepare the incubator. Place the incubator away from direct sunlight and breeze. You should ensure that no external factors will mess up its temperature. Then, to stabilize its internal temperature, let the incubator run for a couple of hours with water in the pan.
Be patient and diligent. Taking care of a bird egg is no easy feat—temperature, ventilation, humidity, and even heating all play a role in a successful incubation. You should maintain a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius) and humidity at 60%. Airflow should be constant, and you need to turn the egg halfway every eight hours for even warmth at all sides.
Feed it right. If you get the egg to hatch, be ready to feed it on the proper diet every 15 to 20 minutes from morning till night for the next two weeks. Your research regarding the bird’s species should help you get the appropriate diet.
Accept failure. The chances of success are very slim. Who knows how long the egg has been abandoned before you found it? Chances are, it’s already dead before you begin incubating it. Be ready to face the fact that the bird egg is already dead. And even if you get the egg to hatch, humans are not equipped to rear hatchlings. You can’t teach birds how to fend for themselves in the wild.
So, what have you learned about what to do if you find a bird egg in the wild? The best you can do is leave it alone if it is not actually abandoned. If you’re worried about the egg, contact your local wildlife rehabilitator. If you have no choice but to take care of the bird, prepare yourself mentally and physically. Taking care of a bird egg is complicated. And chances of success are very slim.