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Robin’s eggs are one of the most easily recognized bird’s egg due to their distinctive blue color. When a mother robin cares for her young, she spends up to a week building a nest and then it can take several days to lay all her eggs. Once the eggs are laid the mother will spend around two weeks sitting on the eggs and then turning them. If a mother abandons her nest for any reason, you can help the abandoned eggs hatch by simulating the mother’s actions.
Contact your local wildlife official. With the exception of European starlings, house sparrows and pigeons, every other bird in the United States is protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. This means that even being in possession of an abandoned egg can be against the law. Ensure that you have permission to care for the egg, before beginning.
Ensure the egg is truly abandoned. Observe the mother’s nest before assuming you are needed to care for the egg. If she does not return, it can be assumed that the egg has been abandoned. Your local wildlife official can tell you how long you need to wait before taking the egg. If the egg is on the ground and not in the nest, place the egg back in the nest until you have determined if it is abandoned or not. It is a myth that a mother will automatically abandon an egg that smells of humans. Most birds have a horrible sense of smell and are not disturbed by your smell.
Check the temperature of the egg when you find it. If it is cold, it is most likely no longer fertile. Also check the egg for signs of cracks. If the egg is cracked, it is no longer fertile.
Wrap the egg in a clean, dry wash cloth or hand towel once you determine the egg has been abandoned. Place the towel and egg in a small plastic bowl.
Place the bowl under a lamp with a 40 watt light bulb. The bowl should be at least six inches from the bulb. The wash cloth should feel warm to the touch. This will keep the temperature of the egg around 100 degrees F.
Turn the egg every 40 minutes until the egg hatches. Rotate the egg half a turn on the vertical axis to help prevent the egg from overheating.
Keep the egg in the wash cloth under the lamp and repeat step 6 until the egg hatches. Normal incubation times for a robin’s egg is 12 to 14 days, so be prepared for constant monitoring of the egg for up to two weeks.
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