How to Preserve Abandoned Bird Eggs

Given the exquisite ingenuity with which birds construct their nests, and the exhaustless pains they go through to lay and hatch their eggs, it wouldn’t be surprising if you are fascinated by birds.

The nests of each species of birds are different, and they reflect the peculiarity and natural habitats of the birds, as well as the variety of eggs they are to contain.

how to preserve abandoned bird eggs

How to Preserve Abandoned Bird Eggs

If you have always been fascinated by the number, variety, shapes, sizes, and coloration of birds’ eggs, then you might want to learn some proven ways to preserve abandoned bird eggs.

Refrigerate them

In ordinary cases, poultry eggs for home use are best kept in the refrigerator. Mind you, not the freezer. It will remain fine and fresh in the fridge for more than one year and still remain fine for any use you may want to apply it to. The same can be done for your abandoned bird eggs. You can store them in a plastic container and keep them in the fridge for many months without any issues.

If you don’t want to use the fridge, you can keep the bird eggs in an open container and put them away in a cool place away from direct sunlight. Your eggs must not be put in an airtight container where they could become warm, and they must not be placed in direct sunlight since this will make them go bad within days. They must be kept in a cool, dry place that is well-ventilated.

Incubate the eggs

Yes, you can incubate the eggs. But you must only think of incubation if you are able to care for the young chicks that will hatch. While sustained heat is necessary to incubate eggs for hatching, the best way to go about it is to acquire an incubator. An electric incubator has a fan to provide the necessary ventilation and adjustable settings to determine the right temperature. You must be certain that the temperature, humidity, ventilation, and turning of the eggs in the incubator is perfect for the eggs to hatch.

Since the incubation period for various wild birds are largely unknown, you just have to set your mind to that of domestic poultry. In normal environmental situations, a domestic hen will incubate her eggs in 21 days, but it takes less than one week if an electric incubator is used. So set the incubator to emit less heat – since the eggs of a wild bird is smaller than that of a poultry chicken – and expect the eggs to hatch in about five days – if all goes well.

Preserve the shells

Many ornithologists and zoologists (bird specialists who study the size, shape, number, and colors of birds’ eggs) love to preserve the shells of eggs belonging to wild birds. If you come across the abandoned nest of a wild bird containing eggs, you can preserve the shells without necessary destroying the eggs. You do this by emptying the eggs of their contents – that is if incubation has not begun already – and preserving their shells.

You must use a tiny tool to drill a hole at one end of the egg and then emptying its content through the hole. You can then use a syringe to pump some water into the shell to wash out the membranes in the shell. Put out the shell in a airy place to dry for 24 hours, before cleaning the outside with a soft, wet cloth to remove every dirt on it. You can also inject isinglass – added with a small amount of sugar-candy – into the shell to ensure that all membranes and pellicle are removed. Then put out the shell to dry again before storing it in a safe place.

How do you know if a bird’s eggs are abandoned?

This is a very important question – bearing in mind that the United States laws forbid people from taking birds’ eggs (more about that in a minute). It must always be at the back of your mind that human beings cannot care for a bird’s eggs the way the bird itself will care for her eggs. So do not take a bird’s eggs from its nest – unless you want to flout the laws or live in a country where it is allowed to gather birds’ eggs.

But if you are really determined to take and care for a bird’s eggs, you must be double-certain that the nest and eggs are abandoned. How? By watching the nest from a distance for an entire day. Many times, the parent bird has only flown away to get food for itself for a short period of time and would be returning to its nest. If a bird does not return to its nest for an entire day, you can be sure that the eggs are abandoned and then decide to gather them.

You must never chase a bird away in order to collect her eggs – it is against the law and also inhuman to do so.

Be sure it is perfectly legal to remove the eggs

According to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, collecting the eggs or nest of a wild bird species is prohibited and offenders are liable to six months imprisonment or maximum of $15,000 fine. This means removing a wild or endangered bird or its nest and eggs from its natural habitat is against the law and punishable.

If you find a bird’s eggs far away from its nest in a country where it is not allowed to collect them, leave the eggs where they are since some certain birds such as the killdeer and quail prefer to lay their eggs in the sand. But if collecting bird’s nests and eggs is allowed in your country – and you look forward to preserving abandoned birds’ egg – then you should read on. It is also best to know the species of bird you are taking its eggs and the incubation period of such eggs.