Found A Bird's Egg In Your Yard? Here's What You Should Do Immediately

If you have birds flocking to your yard, you could come outside one day to discover a wild bird egg laying in your grass or on your driveway. You may feel compelled to immediately pick it up and try to help. While your intentions are good, in most cases it's best to leave the egg where it is and not touch it. While it is a myth that the scent of humans will cause the parent birds to abandon the egg, you could end up accidentally hurting it. Additionally, eggs that you've found on the ground may have already been rejected by the parents because they're not growing well or aren't fertilized.

Though you'll likely want to help the innocent baby bird, trying to incubate and hatch the egg yourself could be illegal. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act prevents people from keeping the eggs or nests of migratory birds, as well as the birds themselves. This Act also affects if and when you can move a bird nest in your yard. If you're very concerned about the egg you found, try contacting a local wildlife rehabilitation center to see if they can help.

Why you should leave bird eggs alone

In some cases, it might seem like the right thing to do would be to return the egg to the nest. This may be possible, but there is still a chance of doing more harm than good. Even if you see a nearby nest, you must be certain that the egg actually came from that nest. Sometimes eggs can be difficult to identify, and if you put the wrong egg in a nest the bird could abandon them all. If the egg actually does belong to the nest you found, jostling it too much while trying to replace it could hurt the unhatched bird.

Additionally, some birds make nests on the ground and the egg could be perfectly safe. While calling a wildlife rehabilitator can be helpful, they may not choose to care for the egg unless it's from an endangered species of bird and might advise you to leave the egg where you found it. Even if it was perfectly legal to incubate and hatch wild eggs, it's very difficult, requires constant care and attention, and there's a large chance the bird won't survive. The best thing you can do is simply allow nature to take over and keep feeding the birds in your backyard to help support them.