Whose egg is that?

Quite often I find eggs lying on the ground in our garden. On more than one occasion I’ve wondered “Whose egg is this?” Last week I had such a request from a reader of this blog. Diana said:

I was just wondering if you could help me out, I’ve found a pure white egg, it was still warm and I couldn’t see a nest around. It’s only about as big as my thumb, what do you think it is? What should I do? Do you think it will hatch and if it does how will I care for it?

My reply unfortunately was less than helpful.

I am sorry but from your description it is almost impossible to tell what species of bird the egg belongs to. Where in Australia was the egg found? Where in relationship to trees, shrubs or buildings? What birds were around at the time? What are the common birds in your area?

There are so many variables that I couldn’t even begin to have a good guess. Eggs are often found on the ground and this is the result of a variety of events. We have some very active cuckoos in Australia which lay their eggs in the nests of other species. The baby cuckoos instinctively push other species eggs out of the nest before they hatch so that they get all the food. (Greedy, heh).

Other species steal eggs from nests to eat – crows, ravens, magpies, currawongs and many others. This is so that they may survive – it is the natural order of things, not cruelty. Sometimes these birds drop the eggs while carrying them.

Some species – especially pigeons and doves – make nests that are so flimsy that the egg simply falls through the bottom. The nests are so insignificant you might not even see them in a tree.

You are best advised to throw out the egg. Hatching it is a specialty job for the birds – or people who keep birds who have special incubators. Even if you did manage to hatch it, feeding the baby is far more demanding than a human baby – and we know how demanding they can be.

When you say it was as big as your thumb – did you mean you thumb nail? If so, it is possible it was a honeyeater’s egg – but which species is very hard to tell.

Sorry that I cannot give you any more help than that.

I know that this must have been frustrating for the reader, but it is really hard especially doing it at a distance via email – even with a photo. Goodness – it is even hard when one has the egg in hand.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *