Finding a bird’s nest that has fallen from a tree or bush, with eggs still inside, can be worrying. Your instinct may be to try to rescue the eggs, but there are right and wrong approaches. Here’s a quick answer if you’re short on time: Securely reattach the intact nest to its original or nearby location, as high up as possible.
Observe from a distance and let the parents return to care for the eggs.
In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about dealing with fallen bird nests with eggs. You’ll learn how to safely handle the nest, when to attempt to rehang it, what to do if the eggs are cracked, options for fostering the eggs yourself, when to get professional wildlife rehabilitator assistance, and tips for preventing nests from falling in the first place.
Assessing the Situation
When you come across a fallen bird nest with eggs, it is important to assess the situation before taking any action. This will help you make informed decisions and ensure the well-being of the eggs and any potential parents.
Determine if Parents are Nearby
The first step is to determine if the parents are nearby. Many bird species have a strong instinct to protect their eggs and will often return to the nest even if it has fallen. Observing the nest from a distance for a while can help you determine if the parents are actively attending to the eggs. They may be feeding the hatchlings or keeping them warm.
If you see the parents nearby, it is best to leave the nest undisturbed and let them continue their care.
Carefully Inspect the Eggs and Nest
If there are no signs of the parents or if the nest appears abandoned, the next step is to carefully inspect the eggs and nest. Wearing gloves to avoid transferring any germs or contaminants, gently pick up the fallen nest and examine its condition. Look for any cracks or damage to the eggs.
It is important to note that handling the eggs should be minimized, as excessive handling can increase the risk of damage.
If the eggs are intact and undamaged, and there is no immediate threat to their safety, you may consider reattaching the nest to its original location. Using a shallow container or a small basket, carefully place the nest and eggs inside and secure it to a stable branch or structure nearby. This will provide some protection and increase the chances of the parents finding and caring for the eggs.
However, if the eggs are cracked or damaged, it is unlikely that they will survive. In such cases, it is best to dispose of the eggs properly. Never attempt to hatch the eggs yourself, as it requires specialized knowledge and equipment. Dispose of the eggs in a sealed bag or container and place them in a covered trash bin.
Remember, it is important to prioritize the well-being of the eggs and the potential parents. If you are unsure about what to do or if you have any concerns, it is always best to reach out to local wildlife authorities or a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for guidance and assistance. They will have the expertise to assess the situation and provide appropriate advice.
Attempting to Return the Nest
When you come across a fallen bird nest with eggs, your first instinct may be to try and return it to its original location. While this can be a noble and compassionate act, it is important to approach the situation with caution and consideration for the well-being of the eggs and the birds.
Wear Gloves When Handling
Before attempting to return the nest, it is crucial to wear gloves to protect yourself and the eggs. Handling the nest with bare hands can transfer your scent to the eggs, which may cause the parent birds to abandon them.
By wearing gloves, you can minimize any potential harm and increase the chances of the nest being accepted by the parent birds once it is returned.
Choose an Appropriate Location
When selecting a location to return the fallen nest, it is essential to consider the safety and protection of the eggs. Look for a spot that closely resembles the original location, such as a nearby tree or shrub. Ensure that the area is sheltered from harsh weather conditions and predators.
By providing a secure and suitable environment, you give the eggs the best chance of survival.
Secure the Nest Firmly in Place
Once you have chosen the appropriate location, securely fasten the nest to its new spot. Use materials like twine or wire to attach the nest to a branch or structure, making sure it is stable and won’t be easily dislodged. Be careful not to damage the nest or the eggs while securing it.
By firmly securing the nest, you minimize the risk of it falling again and increase the likelihood of the parent birds accepting it.
It is important to note that not all situations may be suitable for attempting to return a fallen bird nest. In some cases, it may be best to contact a local wildlife rehabilitation center for advice and assistance.
They have the expertise and resources to determine the best course of action for the well-being of the eggs and the birds.
Caring for Cracked Eggs
When you come across a fallen bird nest with cracked eggs, it’s important to handle the situation with care. While it may be tempting to simply leave the eggs or dispose of them, there are steps you can take to potentially save the baby birds inside.
One of the first things you can do is create an incubator to provide a controlled environment for the eggs to develop.
Creating an Incubator
To create an incubator, you will need a small container with a lid, such as a plastic tub or a shoebox. Line the container with a soft material, like tissue or cotton balls, to provide a cushion for the eggs.
Place the cracked eggs gently into the container, making sure not to turn them or shake them.
Next, you will need to maintain the proper temperature in the incubator to give the eggs the best chance of survival.
Maintaining Proper Temperature
The ideal temperature for incubating bird eggs is around 99 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 to 38 degrees Celsius). You can use a thermometer to monitor the temperature inside the incubator and make adjustments as necessary.
If the temperature drops below the desired range, you can use a heat lamp or a heating pad set on low to raise the temperature. It’s important to avoid drastic temperature changes, as this can negatively affect the development of the embryos.
Humidifying the Incubator
In addition to temperature, humidity is also crucial for the development of the eggs. A humidity level of around 50 to 60 percent is recommended. You can achieve this by placing a small dish of water inside the incubator or by lightly misting the eggs with water.
Be careful not to make the eggs too wet, as excessive moisture can lead to bacterial growth.
Turning the Eggs
Turning the eggs regularly is important to ensure even development. In nature, the parents would rotate the eggs to prevent the embryo from sticking to the shell. You can mimic this by gently turning the eggs two to three times a day.
Mark one side of the egg with an “X” and the other side with an “O” to help you keep track of which way you have turned them.
While it is important to take these steps to care for cracked eggs, it’s essential to remember that not all eggs will survive. The cracked shells may have caused irreversible damage to the embryos, and sometimes, nature takes its course.
If you have any concerns or questions about caring for fallen bird nest eggs, it’s best to reach out to a local wildlife rehabilitator for guidance and assistance.
Getting Wildlife Rehabilitator Help
When you come across a fallen bird nest with eggs, it is important to act swiftly to ensure the safety and well-being of the eggs. In some cases, it may be necessary to seek help from a wildlife rehabilitator.
These professionals are trained to provide appropriate care for orphaned or injured wildlife, including birds and their eggs.
For Severely Damaged Nests
If the bird nest is severely damaged and cannot be repaired or reattached to its original location, it is crucial to contact a wildlife rehabilitator. They have the expertise to assess the situation and determine the best course of action.
They may choose to take the eggs into their care, providing them with the necessary environment and nutrition until they hatch and can be released back into the wild.
If Parents Fail to Return
In some cases, the parents of the eggs may not return to the fallen nest. This could be due to a variety of reasons, such as injury or death. If you observe that the parents have not returned after a reasonable amount of time, it is advisable to contact a wildlife rehabilitator.
They will be able to provide guidance on how to care for the eggs and make arrangements for their well-being.
If You Cannot Provide Adequate Care
Caring for bird eggs requires knowledge and experience to ensure their survival. If you are unable to provide the necessary care, it is important to reach out to a wildlife rehabilitator. They have the resources and expertise to provide the appropriate care for the eggs, ensuring their best chance of survival.
Remember, it is illegal in many places to keep and care for wild bird eggs without the proper permits or licenses. Wildlife rehabilitators are licensed professionals who are authorized to care for wild animals, so it is best to seek their help if you come across a fallen bird nest with eggs.
To find a wildlife rehabilitator near you, you can visit the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association website. They have a directory of licensed rehabilitators who can assist you in providing the necessary care for fallen bird nests with eggs.
Preventing Fallen Nests in the Future
Finding a fallen bird nest with eggs can be disheartening, but there are steps you can take to prevent this from happening in the future. By implementing these preventive measures, you can help protect the nests and ensure the safety of the birds and their eggs.
Avoid Disturbing Nest Areas
One of the best ways to prevent fallen nests is to avoid disturbing the nest areas. Birds carefully choose their nesting sites, and any disruptions can cause them to abandon the nest. Avoid climbing trees or disturbing branches near the nest area.
By giving the birds their space, you are allowing them to build their nests in a safe and undisturbed environment.
Improve Nest Anchoring
Another way to prevent fallen nests is to improve the nest anchoring. Birds build their nests using a variety of materials, including twigs, grass, and leaves. However, sometimes these materials may not provide enough stability, especially during strong winds or storms.
You can help by reinforcing the nest with additional materials such as feathers or soft moss. This will provide extra support and prevent the nest from falling.
Trim Problematic Branches
In some cases, fallen nests may be the result of branches that are too thin or weak to support the weight of the nest. By identifying and trimming problematic branches, you can reduce the risk of nests falling.
However, it is important to consult with a professional arborist before trimming any branches, as they will have the expertise to determine which branches can be safely removed without harming the tree or the birds.
By following these preventive measures, you can help ensure the safety and stability of bird nests, allowing birds to successfully raise their young. Remember, it is essential to respect wildlife and their natural habitats, and by taking these steps, you can play a part in protecting and preserving our feathered friends.
Finding a fallen bird nest with eggs can seem like an emergency, but pausing to assess the situation and understanding the appropriate interventions is key. In many cases, the best option is carefully rehanging the intact nest to allow the parent birds to continue caring for it.
With some helpful guidance on temporarily incubating cracked eggs or getting professional rehabilitator assistance, you can take actions that give the eggs and hatchlings their best chance at survival.