Found Robin Egg, What Do?

Found a robin egg in my garden not in a nest! I’m a bug and plant girl. I know nothing but what it is. Should I leave it? Is it too late if it’s on the ground like this? Would a bird have done this on purpose and do you think it’s coming back?

What do?

I’ll post a better pic to iNat when I’m not mid laundry.

I’m not a birder so I don’t know much but I’d presume that at some point a mother bird would realize if an egg is a dud and throw it out, how else would it end up on the ground? A thief would have eaten it immediately would it not? If that’s not how that works I’d probably put the egg in another bird’s nest that still has eggs in it and hope they accept it. If cowbirds can get away with putting their eggs in other birds nests then why can’t you? However, If it’s laid on the cold ground overnight I’d say it’s probably a dud at this point.

There’s a lot of birders on iNat, I’m sure you will get better advice than mine shortly.

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Is it directly under a nest? Could it have been accidentally dumped out, as from a wind? Could’ve been kicked out by a brown-headed cowbird which is a nest parasite.

I might try an experiment: make a small mark on the egg with a pencil (not a marker) and return it to the nest if you can find it. See if it ends up back on the ground. If you don’t know where the nest is, I’d consider it a nonviable egg.

If it is cowbird parasitism, you might see a very different looking egg in the nest.

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i would just leave it. robins lay blue eggs, but so do other birds. unless you can positively tie an egg to an active nest, i would just say this is a case of survival of the fittest, and maybe let a raccoon or something else get a meal out of it.

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