What To Do When You Find A Bird Egg With No Nest

Discovering an intact bird egg but no nest in sight can be puzzling and concerning. Your first instinct may be to try incubating it yourself to save the egg, but this is extremely challenging for a non-expert. The egg’s best chance of survival is reuniting it with its parents.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Leave the egg where you found it and monitor for adult birds returning to incubate it. Do not disturb or move the egg unless it’s in immediate danger.

Identifying the Egg

Size, color, and markings

When you come across a bird egg with no nest, the first step is to identify the type of bird it belongs to. One way to do this is by examining its size, color, and markings. Bird eggs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, ranging from small and round to larger and oval-shaped.

The color and markings on the egg can also provide clues about the bird species. For example, some eggs may have speckled patterns, while others may have distinct colors or markings. By paying attention to these characteristics, you can start narrowing down the possibilities of the bird species.

Referencing bird field guides

Consulting bird field guides can be incredibly helpful in identifying bird eggs. These guides provide detailed information about various bird species, including their appearance, habitat, and nesting habits.

Look for a section specifically dedicated to bird eggs and compare the characteristics of the egg you found with the images and descriptions in the guide. This can give you a better idea of the possible bird species the egg belongs to.

Online bird field guides, such as those provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, are a great resource to start with. They offer a comprehensive database of bird species and their eggs, making it easier to identify the egg you found.

Contacting local wildlife experts

If you are still unsure about the bird species or need further assistance, it is advisable to contact local wildlife experts. These professionals have extensive knowledge and experience in identifying bird eggs and can provide you with accurate information.

They can also guide you on the next steps to take, such as whether to leave the egg where it is or bring it to a wildlife rehabilitation center. Local birding organizations, wildlife rehabilitation centers, or even your local animal control department are good places to start when seeking expert advice.

Caring for the Egg

Maintaining proper temperature and humidity

When you find a bird egg with no nest, it is important to provide the right conditions for its development. One of the key factors to consider is the temperature. Most bird eggs require a consistent temperature of around 99 to 101 degrees Fahrenheit (37 to 38 degrees Celsius).

You can use a simple incubator or create a makeshift one by using a heat source, such as a heating pad or a warm water bottle wrapped in a towel.

Humidity is another crucial element for the egg’s well-being. The ideal humidity level for bird eggs is usually around 50 to 60 percent. You can monitor and adjust the humidity by using a hygrometer or by misting the egg with water if the humidity drops too low.

Turning the egg gently

Turning the egg is an important step in caring for it. In nature, parent birds constantly rotate their eggs to ensure uniform development. By mimicking this process, you can help prevent the embryo from sticking to the shell and promote healthy growth.

On average, eggs should be turned three to five times a day. However, be careful not to rotate the egg too forcefully as this can harm the delicate embryo. A gentle roll or a slight tilt is usually sufficient.

Keeping the egg safe from predators

Predators pose a significant threat to the survival of a bird egg with no nest. To protect it, you can create a safe and secluded spot by using a small box or a container lined with soft bedding material, such as tissue or grass.

Place the egg inside and ensure that the container is secure and inaccessible to potential predators like cats or rodents.

If possible, you can also try to locate the nest the egg belongs to and return it safely. Birds have a strong bond with their nests and will often return to them if they are not disturbed. Observing the area where you found the egg can give you clues about the nest’s location, such as nearby trees or shrubs.

Remember, caring for a bird egg requires dedication and attention to detail. If you are unsure about the best course of action, it is always recommended to consult with a local wildlife rehabilitator or a veterinarian who specializes in avian care.

They can provide you with expert guidance based on your specific situation.

Looking for Nesting Sites

When you come across a bird egg with no nest, it’s important to understand that the egg may have been abandoned or fallen out of its original nest. In order to give the egg the best chance of survival, you can take steps to find a suitable nesting site where it can be properly cared for.

Here are some tips for looking for nesting sites:

Searching areas nearby where egg was found

Start by searching the immediate area where you found the egg. Look for any signs of a nest such as twigs, leaves, or feathers. Pay attention to the location of the egg, as it may give you clues about the type of bird that laid it.

Birds often build their nests in trees, shrubs, ledges, or even on the ground.

Looking for nests in trees, shrubs, ledges, etc.

Expand your search to nearby trees, shrubs, ledges, or other potential nesting sites. Look for any signs of bird activity such as birds flying in and out of a particular area or carrying nesting materials. Keep an eye out for nests that may be hidden or well-camouflaged.

Behaviors to watch for in parent birds

Observing the behavior of parent birds can also provide valuable information about potential nesting sites. Watch for birds that are repeatedly returning to a specific location or exhibiting behaviors associated with nest-building, such as gathering nesting materials or carrying food to a particular spot.

These behaviors can indicate the presence of a nest nearby.

It is important to note that interfering with wild birds and their nests is generally discouraged and may even be illegal in some cases. If you are unsure about what to do or have concerns about the welfare of the bird egg, it is best to consult with a local wildlife rehabilitation center or bird expert for guidance.

Returning the Egg

When you find a bird egg with no nest, it is important to take appropriate steps to ensure the egg has the best chance of survival. One of the first things you should do is try to return the egg as close to the finding site as possible.

Birds are often very specific about where they build their nests, so placing the egg nearby increases the likelihood that the parent bird will be able to locate it.

Placing the egg as close to the finding site as possible

When returning the egg, make sure to place it in a location that closely resembles the original site. This means taking note of the type of tree or shrub, the height from the ground, and any other nearby features that might have influenced the bird’s choice of nesting spot.

By recreating these conditions, you give the parent bird the best chance of finding the egg.

Handling the egg carefully to avoid rotation

When handling the egg, it is crucial to be gentle and avoid rotating it. Bird embryos develop a specific orientation inside the egg, and rotating it can cause the embryo to detach from the inner membrane, resulting in the death of the developing bird.

To prevent this, hold the egg upright and avoid any unnecessary movement or rotation.

Observing the site for adult bird activity

After returning the egg, it is important to observe the site for any signs of adult bird activity. This can include the presence of adult birds nearby, vocalizations, or any other indications that the parent bird is aware of the egg.

If you notice any such signs, it is a positive sign that the parent bird has found the egg and is taking care of it. However, if you do not observe any activity after a reasonable amount of time, it may be necessary to seek assistance from a wildlife rehabilitation center.

Remember, it is always best to consult with a professional or an expert in bird conservation if you are unsure about what to do when you find a bird egg with no nest. They will be able to provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information on how to handle the situation and give the egg the best chance of survival.

Incubating and Raising Chicks

Acquiring proper incubator and brooder

When you find a bird egg with no nest, it may be necessary to take on the role of a surrogate parent and incubate the egg yourself. To do this, it is crucial to acquire a proper incubator and brooder. An incubator provides a controlled environment for the egg to hatch, while a brooder provides a warm and safe space for the chicks once they have hatched.

There are various types of incubators available, ranging from basic models to more advanced ones with automatic temperature and humidity controls. It is important to choose an incubator that suits your needs and budget.

You can find reputable suppliers for incubators and brooders at www.exampleincubators.com.

Maintaining optimal temperature and humidity

Temperature and humidity are critical factors when incubating and raising chicks. The optimal temperature for most bird species is around 99-101 degrees Fahrenheit (37-38 degrees Celsius). It is essential to monitor the temperature closely and make adjustments as necessary to ensure the eggs develop properly.

Humidity levels also play a vital role in the hatching process. Different bird species may require different humidity levels, but as a general guideline, maintaining a humidity level of around 50-60% during incubation is recommended.

This can be achieved by using a hygrometer to measure humidity and adding water to the incubator as needed.

Hand-feeding and socializing hatchlings

Once the chicks have hatched, they will need to be hand-fed and socialized. Hand-feeding involves providing the chicks with a suitable diet, which may include specially formulated chick feed or a mixture of finely ground seeds and insects.

It is important to ensure that the chicks are receiving proper nutrition to support their growth and development.

Socializing the chicks is essential for their overall well-being. This involves spending time with them, gently handling them, and introducing them to various stimuli in their environment. Socializing helps the chicks develop trust and become comfortable around humans, which can be beneficial if they are to be released back into the wild.

Remember, raising chicks is a delicate process that requires knowledge, time, and dedication. It is always recommended to consult with a wildlife expert or veterinarian for guidance and assistance throughout the incubation and raising process.


Finding a lone bird egg can be worrisome but don’t rush to intervene. The parents are likely nearby and will provide the best chance for survival. Monitor the area, leave the egg undisturbed, and let nature take its course before attempting hand-rearing as an absolute last resort.

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