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Bird Identification: CLOSED: Egg identification

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lovemyiris
Huntley, MT
(Zone 4b)

February 25, 2008
9:59 PM

Post #4587514

Can anyone tell me what kind of wildbird egg this is?

I live in Montana. It was in the nest inside a bluebird box when I cleaned out the box today.

Thanks.

Thumbnail by lovemyiris
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Resin

Resin
Northumberland
United Kingdom
(Zone 9a)

February 25, 2008
10:14 PM

Post #4587585

Did google image search for House Sparrow, Starling, Brown-headed Cowbird, and Tree Swallow, and it doesn't match any of those likely candidates.

Resin
lovemyiris
Huntley, MT
(Zone 4b)

February 26, 2008
12:12 AM

Post #4588060

Thanks for your input Resin. I've not been able to find any egg identification information online. There are some photos at the Univ. of Cornell, but not eggs for all birds. I've tried looking up every bird I usually see around here and no luck so far, unless descriptions are just not accurate enough.

It looks similar to an egg photo I found for a type of Junco, but the color is wrong.
Grasmussen
Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4a)

February 26, 2008
4:47 PM

Post #4590891

It looks like a house sparrow egg to me. However, there can be considerable variation in color. House Sparrows are notorious for taking over Bluebird nesting boxes. Cowbirds normally lay their parasitic eggs in open nests, of an other bird, rather than nesting boxes. Starling eggs are pale blue without any spots, however, I recently saw one reference book claiming they are spotted.
Gary
muddylou
Saint Paul, MN
(Zone 4a)

February 26, 2008
5:11 PM

Post #4590983

I wonder if it could be a house wren egg. Here in Minnesota, wrens & house sparrows are a bluebird's worst enemies. House wrens will poke holes or toss out ("turf") the bluebird's eggs, and then lay its own. They are extremely territorial. Your egg may be a bit too big to be a wren egg though, although the colors are right. It if IS a wren egg, you will want to consider moving your box as far away as possible from shrubby growth (the wren's hangout).
muddylou
Saint Paul, MN
(Zone 4a)

February 26, 2008
5:15 PM

Post #4591006

Check out www.sialis.org (an EXCELLENT bluebirding source) for more information on what to do about wrens, house sparrows and the like...good luck!! MuddyLou
lovemyiris
Huntley, MT
(Zone 4b)

February 26, 2008
5:26 PM

Post #4591064

I found this website http://www.sialis.org/eggcompare.html with photos and sizes of various eggs. I'm thinking it's a Black Capped Chickadee egg and read that they, too, will take over a bluebird box. The descriptions I found elsewhere mentioned there being more color at the large end of the egg, too.

I'll have to keep a watchful eye on the box this year to see who is using it. I've had anywhere from 3 to 8 bluebirds around, but also have allot of trees they could be using to nest in.

Thanks for everyone's help. I will watch for those birds, too.
Grasmussen
Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4a)

February 26, 2008
6:03 PM

Post #4591230

Definitely NOT a Chickadee egg!
The spots are the wrong color and it is to large to be a Chickadee egg. This photo is of a Black-capped Chickadee nest and eggs. Notice the reddish-chestnut colored spots. Most, but not all, spotted eggs have "more color at the large end of the egg."
Gary

Thumbnail by Grasmussen
Click the image for an enlarged view.

lovemyiris
Huntley, MT
(Zone 4b)

February 26, 2008
6:32 PM

Post #4591379

From the pictures I saw of a House sparrow egg compared to a quarter, I thought they were too big. The egg I have measures only 5/8" wide x 13/16" long.

I do appreciate everyone's input & guess the bottom line is I need to keep whoever it is out of the bluebird box.

Resin

Resin
Northumberland
United Kingdom
(Zone 9a)

February 26, 2008
6:33 PM

Post #4591385

[quote]I wonder if it could be a house wren egg. Here in Minnesota, wrens & house sparrows are a bluebird's worst enemies. House wrens will poke holes or toss out ("turf") the bluebird's eggs, and then lay its own. ... Your egg may be a bit too big to be a wren egg though[/quote]
Perhaps a better match with Carolina Wren:
http://www.hiltonpond.org/images/WrenCarolinaEgg01.jpg

Not sure if they'd push in the same way as House Wren does, though.

Resin
lovemyiris
Huntley, MT
(Zone 4b)

February 26, 2008
8:09 PM

Post #4591736

Wow! Thanks Resin. The egg at the hyperlink looks exactly like it. The pictures I saw of House Wren eggs at other sites were solid more of a solid brown with lots of evenly spaced freckles. Only problem is, I don't think Carolina Wrens come all the way to Montana. Maybe I had a stray.
muddylou
Saint Paul, MN
(Zone 4a)

February 26, 2008
8:26 PM

Post #4591817

Lovemyiris, I'm jealous that you've already got bluebirds back in your zone! Mine won't return until the end of March/first part of April - which state do you live in?
Grasmussen
Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4a)

February 26, 2008
8:36 PM

Post #4591857

I just explored the hyperlink for sailis posted above. While the information is generally quite useful, the color balance of the photos is terrible. The photo for comparison of an American Robin and a European Starling was nowhere close to true color. A Starling's egg is a pale blue. A Robin's egg is a very deep rich shade of blue. But, the comparison photo shows the Robins egg as the paler blue. I suspect the photos were taken with old film photography, never captured the true colors, and faded with age.
Gary

Resin

Resin
Northumberland
United Kingdom
(Zone 9a)

February 26, 2008
9:20 PM

Post #4592007

[quote]Only problem is, I don't think Carolina Wrens come all the way to Montana[/quote]
Ooops! I'd forgotten it was Montana. Er, no, they don't come all the way there, not anywhere near! So that counts out Carolina Wren then.

Resin
lovemyiris
Huntley, MT
(Zone 4b)

February 26, 2008
10:08 PM

Post #4592245

Muddylou - I don't have any bluebirds here yet (south-central Montana zone 4 or 5). Although, I think I saw a female bluebird last week, I couldn't get the binoculars out fast enough.

I see at this page ( http://www.sialis.org/wrens.htm ) there are directions for a wren deterent on the bluebird house. I think I need to start looking into keeping other birds away. I've had the bluebird box up for 3 or 4 years because I'd see the birds along the roadside. So, I'm pretty new at this.
lovemyiris
Huntley, MT
(Zone 4b)

February 26, 2008
10:22 PM

Post #4592298

Well, I've not got two who say it's a House Sparrow! Gary (Grasmussen) & now I just got this reply from Bet at www.sialis.org about the egg. She says "It's a House Sparrow! BTW, the pictures and measurements REALLY help (sometimes I get emails from foreign countries saying they found a green egg with no more info and it's tough to help!)

Black capped chickadees do not use feathers in the cup, the eggs are really tiny, and the coloring is more pinkish brown - see http://www.sialis.org/nestschickadee.htm.

House Wren nests have lots of sticks. None of the other birds you mention use a nest box (rarely a House Finch, but their eggs are light blue.)

House Sparrows are introduced, invasive species (see photos here: http://www.sialis.org/otherbrownbirds.htm) and are the #1 avian enemy of native cavity nesters. You should NEVER let them use a bluebird box - there are lots of control options (some passive, some active) - see http://www.sialis.org/hosp.htm.

In a nutshell, at a minimum remove all nests and eggs at least a couple of times a week. I trap and remove House Sparrows as they will peck eggs, kill nestlings, and decapitate adults if they can catch them inside of a box.

If you do get bluebirds using a box, I highly recommend sparrow spookers.

Bet Zimmerman"

Looks like I've got some work to do to keep the "Bad" birds away.
I thought the information might be helpful to others out there.
muddylou
Saint Paul, MN
(Zone 4a)

February 27, 2008
2:42 PM

Post #4595540

YIkes! The dreaded HOSP! Well, there's a lot you can do to keep them at bay. If it turns out that your yard is too small or too wooded to provide the open space that bluebirds need (and that deters HOSP & wrens), you can always look into "borrowing" space at a local golf course or cemetery and start a trail! It's so worth the time & energy.

Mrs_Ed

Mrs_Ed
Whiteside County, IL
(Zone 5a)

February 27, 2008
3:41 PM

Post #4595861

Those sparrow spookers on the sialis site look pretty easy.

http://www.sialis.org/sparrowspooker.htm

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