Leaving eggs alone shows compassion

Do Not Touch Nests

Do Not Touch Eggs

When you happen upon a nest with eggs be careful. Just because you did not see a bird fly off from the nest does not mean the nest is abandoned. A hen may be nearby feeding. All birds do not begin to incubate eggs after the first egg is laid so they can be away for some time to feed.

DO NOT TOUCH THE EGGS

LEAVE THE NEST IMMEDIATELY

Stay away from nesting habitats during nesting season. Sometimes you may accidentally come upon a nest. During the incubation period, an adult is almost always on the nest because the temperature of the eggs must be kept constant, and cannot be left very long uncovered. Setting females will not easily be flushed from nests. I have very nearly stepped on pheasants before the hen leaves. Shore birds and most ground nesters will flutter off before you come too near and try to lead you away by pretending a broken wing.

If you touch the nest or eggs the adult will almost certainly abandon the nest. Taking them home is fine if you want to bake a cake. Unfertilized, the eggs will be as good as hen's eggs for baking.

If it truly is an abandoned nest and incubation was interrupted, the embryos will likely be dead. At any rate if you unthinkingly touched the eggs, you could try to incubate them. Unless you know what kind of eggs you stole from the wild nest you may get a nasty surprise if they do hatch. PLUS you will have six to eight weeks of feeding insects or worms to some very demanding, helpless, messy creatures.

KEEP YOUR CATS INDOORS.

HOUSE CATS KILL MORE SONGBIRDS THAN WILD PREDATORS
Discourage their hunting
EVEN IF YOU LIKE THE BODIES THEY PROUDLY BRING TO YOUR DOORSTEP

Magpies prey on songbirds. Frighten them away from your bird feeders. Songbird eggs are eaten if found before hatching.
Magpies drag the bare, sightless young from the nest.
Magpies do not have talons or curved sharp beaks like hawks to tear raw flesh so they can't eat the helpless young, which are simply left to die.

 
The California quail is a plump, grayish chicken-like bird about 11 inches long. Clutches may contain as many as twelve eggs measuring about an inch, creamy colored speckled with brown.The birds stay in groups called coveys and hold a vigil against predators. Males have a black and white face and throat pattern. Both sexes have short black feathers slicked into a fancy cowlick that looks like a plume
Callipepla californica eggs  
  From Bird, Egg, Feather, Nest, a large colorful picture book by Maryjo Koch, Swan Island Books, Imprint of Smithmark Books, Collins Publishers, San Francisco, California, 1998
   
Eggs of Hermit thrush are pale blue-green of lichen The Hermit Thrush is a plump brown bird smaller than a robin. The head is rufous above, with striped cheeks, and round breast spots. "Eggs are the pale blue-green of lichen and other mosses strewn on the woodland floor," says Maryjo Koch, in her description of the well camouflaged nests of ground nesting birds. Probably less likely to be discovered than the quail nests, are the adults themselves.
Catharus guttatus eggs  
 

From Bird, Egg, Feather, Nest by Maryjo Koch. With colorful and whimsical text, Maryjo delights the reader with hundreds of reditions of bird parts mentioned in the title as well as details of beaks, talons, and habitats where the species are found. .

One of dozens of interesting minutiae given by Maryjo Koch, is that the bald eagles's name most likely comes from the Welsh meaning of the word bald, which translates to "marked with white."

Bird Egg Feather Nest
by Maryjo Koch
A Swans Island Book, Collins, San Francisco,Ca
ISBN 0-7651-0762-7

Read it! You'll love it and so will the children you read it to.

 

Naomi Sherer