can bird eggs hatch without the mother

Birds may leave their nest if they are scared off or if they need to feed.

After they’ve been scared off, birds almost always return to their nest and resume incubating after the threat has passed.

The parents may also periodically leave the nest to feed⁠—this is especially true before all the eggs have been laid as many birds don’t start incubating their eggs until the clutch is complete, which ensures that the eggs all hatch at about the same time.

So, in most cases, the nest is fine and the adult birds will be back to incubate the eggs soon. You can keep an eye on the nest to make sure the parents return, just make sure you keep your distance from the nest as you don’t want to scare the parents away.

We don’t advise that you try to hatch the eggs yourself. A federal license is required to work with native bird species, and hatching eggs successfully can be tough; it requires a specific temperature, humidity, and turning schedule.

To learn the safest ways to monitor bird nests and avoid disturbing the birds visit NestWatch. Here you can learn more about the code of conduct for monitoring a nest, and find guidelines for nest monitoring.

Not What You Think

When the parents disappear from view for extended periods, people might assume that they have given up on the nest. Abandonment is not usually the case unless you saw the deceased parents. They’re probably nearby, keeping an eye on things and worrying, and they’ll go back to the nest once you’re gone. Most wild animal parents abandon their young for extended periods of time in order to gather food.

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To Hatch or Not to Hatch

If the eggs’ incubation was interrupted and the nest was genuinely abandoned, it’s likely that the embryos are dead. When robin parents believe their young have little chance of success, that’s the only time they leave the nest.

Raising young birds is not likely to be easier for unskilled humans than it was for their parents. Rarely, if ever, do wildlife rehabbers try to incubate the eggs of abandoned wild birds. For successful brooding, a significant amount of time and energy must be committed to providing proper care around-the-clock, frequent turning, the right temperature, and the precise amount of humidity. It’s almost a given that handling an egg by humans will have caused the fragile internal membrane to sustain damage from a loud shaking of the developing embryo. If such a baby were to hatch, he would almost certainly suffer from severe deformities.

Even if you were successful in incubating a wild bird egg, the nestling’s chances of surviving would be extremely slim. Feeding is your next monumental undertaking. Baby birds raised in the wild have very specific dietary needs that differ depending on the species. In contrast to popular belief, not all birds are carnivorous. The majority of infants require their parents to regurgitate a variety of live insects, spiders, fruits, and grains down their throats. For at least two weeks, this needs to be done a few times every hour for a total of sixteen hours per day.


Will bird eggs hatch if abandoned?

To Hatch or Not to Hatch If the incubation of the eggs was interrupted resulting in a truly abandoned nest, it’s probable that the embryos are dead.

How long can an egg last without heat from the mother?

Bird eggs can live up to seven days without necessary warmth. It’s recommended for the eggs to stay at a consistent temperature of 16-17 Celsius for survival. If you are going to be keeping the bird eggs in an incubator, it’s quite easy to manage warmth. You can tweak the settings and ensure the eggs hatch as intended.

How do you tell if a mother bird has abandoned her eggs?

Signs that a mother bird has abandoned her nest include cold eggs, signs of injury or distress in the nest, and extended absence of the mother bird. Reasons why a mother bird may abandon her nest include lack of food or resources, predation or disturbance, and completion of the breeding season.

What happens to bird eggs if mother dies?

Unfortunately sometimes the parents die and the eggs become food for other animals are are reabsorbed by nature. Not all eggs are meant to survive and nature has a way of balancing itself out. If you are sure the mom is gone and there is no father take the eggs inside your home.