I’ve been watching a White-crowned Sparrow nest for several weeks now. None of the eggs have hatched, and not once did I see a parent on or near it. I assume at least one parent is dead, causing the nest to be abandoned. Can I remove the eggs? If so, is there any easy way to preserve them so they can be kept without becoming rotten?
Not If you live in the United States. Possession of native bird eggs is prohibited without a difficult-to-obtain permit.
Ok, never mind then. I will leave them.
But do take images and submit an observation including your notes.
If you were talking about a domestic bird or an invasive species, there would be two ways to preserve the eggs. For larger eggs, make a small hole in each end, scramble the interior with a long needle, and blow the contents out. For smaller eggs, simply leaving them in a dry place will eventually dry the innards out, preserving them for any climates that aren’t incredibly humid.
But yes, birds in the US are protected, and eggs are protected in many other places as well.
It’s also worth noting that nests shouldn’t generally be photographed unless they’re abandoned, or you’re very far away. There are some exceptions, like if you’re photographing a chimney swift that’s nested directly above an active door. But as a general rule, you want to leave nests alone. The parents can stay off the nest too long, or even abandon it, if scared enough. And a camera lens looks like an eye to them.
(Not saying you scared the parents off in this case, just saying that for anyone else thinking of photographing a nest.)
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