Do you know which season we see the most birds hatching? While birds have nests year round, we see the most birds hatching and fledging in the spring season. Try the activities below to learn more about eggs and nests.
- Watch the wildlife from a distance. It is best to leave a wild animal alone if it is not clearly in any immediate danger.
- Is it orphaned/abandoned? If you are not sure if the animal is orphaned, watch it from a distance so you don't scare the parents from returning. Check the animal from time to time for 24 to 48 hours to see if it is still around. Do not touch or remove the young animal. It is normal for some wildlife species parents to leave their offspring alone for extended periods of time. Many infant mammals are left on their own for extended periods of time while their parents are looking for food. In many bird species, the offspring outgrow their nest and their parents continue to raise them on ground level. Many species return to their young near dusk and dawn.
- Is it injured? Wild animals might seem hurt if they are not moving. However, this behavior may simply be a natural survival tactic to keep predators away. Keep an eye out for other indicators that an animal is actually injured.
- When to call Calgary Wildlife Society: It is illegal to care for sick, injured, or orphaned wildlife in Calgary unless you are a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. When you have determined that a wild animal is truly orphaned or injured you can contact the CWRS (403-214-1312) or The City of Calgary 3-1-1 service for advice on how to proceed.
- If you find a bird nest, leave it alone. Many birds are ground nesters, meaning that species purposefully make their nest on the ground or the chicks have outgrown their nest.
- Identify the nest, egg or bird from a safe distance by visiting nestwatch.org.
Did you know bird eggs have the same makeup as the chicken eggs you have in the morning for breakfast? All bird egg shells are built tough and made mostly of calcium to stay strong and protect the chick until it’s ready to hatch. They are so strong that a bird can sit on an egg to keep it warm without it cracking. Once the chick has hatched there is often egg shell left in the nest.
- A bird will sometimes eat the shells to get more nutrients.
- Birds remove the shells to protect the chicks from sharp edges.
- A bird will drop the shells away from the nest site to confuse predators.
- Birds like clean nests, and don’t like debris in their homes.
- Since some egg shells are brightly coloured, birds want the shells out to camouflage their nests. (Example: A robin's bright blue egg shell must be moved elsewhere for their protection).
- Once the shells make their way to soil they break down and compost to make new nutritious soil for things to grow.