Birds do not have any straightforward way to transport their often-delicate eggs from one nest to another. The only time a bird can move eggs to another nest is if its nest is on the ground. The bird can then roll the eggs to another nest.
What You'll Learn
- 1 Ground Birds vs. Tree Dwelling Birds
- 2 Why Would A Bird Move Its Eggs?
- 3 Types of Birds That Can Move Their Eggs
- 4 What If a Bird Can’t Move Its Eggs?
- 5 The Benefits of Ground Nests
- 6 Ground-Nesting Birds Won’t Always Protect Their Eggs
Bird eggs, while varying greatly in size, are incredibly fragile. They are susceptible to cracking for a variety of reasons.
But if a bird had to move its eggs from one nest to another, does it have the ability? Let’s look at what we know.
Ground Birds vs. Tree Dwelling Birds
Whether or not birds will move their eggs to another nest comes down to the nesting habits of the bird species.
Birds of the ground (as well as some flying birds) build their nests at ground level in low-lying, flat places such as bushes, tall grass, or shrubbery.
These nests are often tucked away in tall grass, shrubbery, or vegetation. Still, they tend to be in open spaces where many ground-dwelling threats can be found. Because of this, birds may need to roll their eggs from one spot to another.
Birds that make their nests above ground (such as a tree or a rock) do not have the ability to move their eggs from one nest to another.
The shape of a bird’s beak does not allow them to pick up eggs, and with no way of rolling them, eggs laid in high-up nests such as trees, buildings, or other artificial structures are stuck until they hatch.
Why Would A Bird Move Its Eggs?
Outside Dangers Can Come At Any Time
A bird’s nest could be threatened by any number of things. While the response may vary between distinct species, most ground-nesting birds will move their eggs if sufficiently threatened.
The threat of predators coming too close to the nest is a common reason for birds to move their eggs. Snakes, raccoons, foxes, and other predatory birds are among the most common culprits, as eggs make up an important part of these animals’ diets.
Sudden Changes in The Area Can Affect the Nest
Weather conditions, scarcity of food and water, or anything else that disrupts the nest may cause a bird to move its eggs. The response to a threat will vary between species. While some may move their eggs at the slightest hint of danger, others may not unless they clearly see a predator roaming near the nest.
Less immediate dangers to a mother bird’s nest may come in the form of insect infestations, which can pose a serious threat to the eggs over time. Changes in the availability of resources near the nest, such as food and water, can also cause a bird to move.
Types of Birds That Can Move Their Eggs
Large Ground-Nesting Birds
Ducks, Geese, Swans, and other waterfowl build their nests on flat ground near bodies of water and can roll their eggs to another location should the need arise.
Ducks are known to only move their eggs in dire circumstances, such as a drastic change in weather or a predator threatening the ducks’ nest.
Game birds such as turkeys will dig a small hole on flat ground and line their nests with leaves, grass, or other vegetation.
Turkeys have been seen moving their eggs from a nest by rolling the eggs across flat ground.
Small Ground Nesting Birds
A variety of songbirds nest in low, ground-level places whenever possible, such as Larks, Bobolinks, warblers, sparrows, and thrushes.
What If a Bird Can’t Move Its Eggs?
Nature can be cruel. Whenever a mother bird finds herself in a sudden and dangerous situation, the lives of her eggs and her own may be at risk.
Birds that cannot move their eggs may abandon their eggs if they believe the eggs will not survive.
When faced with an immediate threat to a nest from a predator, birds will normally abandon their nests, as their instincts for self-preservation are very strong.
While certain larger birds can defend their nests from smaller predators, most birds rely on well concealed and camouflaged nests to evade potential threats.
The Benefits of Ground Nests
A nest can face complications without warning. A bird’s ability to roll its eggs to another location is a significant advantage.
Birds that build their nests in trees or other high-up locations face fewer predators, so they face a fight-or-flight situation when predators appear. With a lack of resources, infestation, poor weather, or other less direct dangers, a tree-dwelling bird may face no alternative but to abandon its nest.
Ground-Nesting Birds Won’t Always Protect Their Eggs
Birds that nest on the ground in flat areas and can roll their eggs to another nest are better able to protect their eggs from a greater variety of threats.
However, because of the exposed locations in which these birds often build their nests, there is a greater chance for predators to find the eggs.
While a ground-nesting bird may roll its eggs to another location if a predator is detected nearby, when faced with a direct threat in the nest, many birds would react similarly to tree nesting birds, with a fight-or-flight response. Having the ability to prevent and avoid danger gives ground-nesting birds an advantage in trying to protect their eggs.
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I am Bryan Powell and I own BirdHour.com. I love bird watching; in fact, I have a parakeet of my own. I enjoy spending time outdoors and observing the natural world around me. This website is a means of sharing my passion for birds with others who may be interested in this activity.