How to identify birds eggs

Written by laura hageman
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Spring is the time for baby birds to be born. Before they are born the mother makes sure the eggs stay warm until it is time for them to hatch. In the meantime you may come across a nest of eggs and not be sure if they belong to a bird or not. Few birds actually develop their nests close to the ground; most ensure they are up high above the ground in a tree, bush, or a part of a building or house.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Feel the texture of the egg. Bird eggs have several kinds of textures, dependent on the type of bird. For example, ducks have greasy-feeling egg shells and the goldfinch's are very smooth. Other bird eggs will feel glossy or rough.

  2. 2

    Admire the colour of the egg. Some bird eggs are varied in colours such as blue or brown, but the majority of them are white or grey. Several birds, such as the oriole and the purple finch, have markings on their eggs. The oriole has a white egg with speckles of red and brown dots on the larger part of the egg. The purple finch has not only dots, but lines on the entire egg. It is unique with short brown lines and bluish dots.

  3. 3

    Note the clutch. The clutch is the amount of eggs the bird laid at one time. Clutch size ranges from 2 to 13 eggs, depending on the type of bird. For example, a mallard produces 10 to 13 eggs in one clutch, while an eagle has as little as 1 to 3 eggs in its clutch. Most smaller birds such as blue jays or crows will have up to 5 eggs in their clutches.

  4. 4

    Determine the size of the eggs. Most bird eggs are not larger than 2 inches long, typically the size of a walnut or acorn. The largest bird egg is the ostrich, which is as large as a cantaloupe. The smallest is of the hummingbird, whose egg is no bigger than a jelly bean.

Tips and warnings

  • Sometimes eggs will be found on the ground. If the bird egg is cracked with yolk inside, a predator probably got to it. If it is empty inside, then the bird probably hatched.

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