Do you know your Bird Eggs? [QUIZ 1]
Bird Eggs come in an array of shapes and sizes. They can be found elliptical, spherical or even oval in shape. Smaller eggs (like the Hummingbird) are the size of a pea and the larger eggs (like the Ostrich) can almost be the size of a football. Eggs are sometimes colored in ways of making them appear to be camouflage so that potential enemies are unable to locate them. An example would be the Killdeer who will lay her eggs on the rocky ground but assist in distracting the predator away with an injured wing display. Some species of birds have colors that will vary from egg to egg where others will always have the same reliable pattern. Many of our cavity nesting birds will have white or neutral colored eggs since they do not need their eggs camouflaged. Ducks eggs are larger in size in proportion of their adult sized body. Ducklings need to be ready to swim away as soon as they are born where most other nestlings are born feather-less and helpless. They do most of their developing within the first few weeks in the nest.
There are many different things to take in consideration when identifying the eggs of birds. Size, shape and coloring are the main ingredients in making the eggs identification but they are not always the most important details. Behavior and the birds natural history is sometimes very helpful way to identify a broken (or hatched open) egg that you might find on the ground. The birdQUIZ below is designed in helping you use everything I talked about in making the proper identification of these eggs!! Good Luck!
Each egg (above photos) comes from one of the six birds that are listed below. This fun birdQUIZ was for you to see how well you know your bird egg!! I strongly suggest using any reference bird egg or nest guide that is available to you. Answers to this quiz can be found on the bottom of the page. I will be doing a part 2 of the quiz with 6 more birds in tomorrows post. Remember . . . this isn’t an actual test it is just something to do for fun!
Hooded Warbler usually have 3-4 eggs. Incubation is done by the female for 12 days. Nestlings fledge the nest after 8-9 days of hatching. The nest can be found in thick shrubby moist deciduous woodland about 2 feet off the ground.
Mallard normally have 10-12 eggs. Incubation is done by the female for 26-29 days after the last egg has been laid. Nestlings fledge the nest just after hatching and spend 7-8 weeks with the female before going on their own. The nest can be found near any fresh water habitat in tall vegetation on the ground.
European Starling usually have 5-7 eggs. Incubation starts after last egg has been laid by both parents for 12-15 days. Nestlings fledge the nest after 20-22 days of hatching. The nest can be found in areas with nest-site holes occur with open areas for feeding. They have been introduced from Europe.
Sharp-shinned Hawk usually have 4-5 eggs. Incubation starts after the last egg has been laid by both parents for 30-35 days. Nestlings fledge the nest after 23 days of hatching. The nest can be found in thick cover and conifers when available about 10-60 feet off the ground.
Red-bellied Woodpecker usually have 4-5 eggs. Incubation starts after the first egg has been laid by both parents for 13 days. Nestlings fledge the nest after 26 days of hatching. The nest can be found in a nest-hole, 5-40 feet up in a variety of woodland habitats.
Great Blue Heron usually have 4 eggs. Incubation is done by both parents for 25-29 days. Nestlings fledge the nest after 64-90 days of hatching. The nest can be found in tall trees or sometimes bushes on ledges or cliffs up to 130 feet from the ground.
NOTE: The egg photos come from the Allegany State Park’s Red House Museum’s egg collection, which have the required educational permits for using these eggs for educational purposes. * It is illegal to possess bird eggs, bird nest, bird feather or any protected migratory dead bird without proper federal and state special purpose salvage permits.*
The egg collection was donated to the park from a private collection that originated from a collector in the late 1890’s to early 1900’s. Each and every egg is very fragile, so consider the eggs age when comparing its coloring to the books photos. All reference material for this post comes from “A Guide to the Nest, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds (second edition).” (1997) by Paul J. Baichich and Colin J.O. Harrison, Academic Press. Bird Photos are from the Roger Tory Peterson fieldguide.