Egg And Nest Identification

Wildlife Conservaation StampThank you for visiting my Egg & Nest Identification page. Since I get so many visitors to this page I wish to ask a simple favor of you. I am part of a movement to create an additional income stream for our National Wildlife Refuge system by promoting a Wildlife Conservation Stamp as an alternative to the Duck Stamp for non-extractive users of our National Wildlife Refuges. If you enjoy wildlife (which you obviously do if you are here trying to identify a nest or bird eggs) please further this worthy cause by going to our Facebook page and clicking the “Like” button. If you are really interested in helping and want to join us on this journey, check out Our Proposal and About Us pages on the website. If you are part of an organization you may want to discuss our proposal with your organization’s leaders and have your organization listed on our “Organizations in Support” pageTHANK YOU!!


IMPORTANT: IF YOU FIND EGGS BY THEMSELVES OR IN A NEST DO NOT TOUCH THEM!  LEAVE THEM WHERE THEY ARE!

Many times, even if you find an egg on the ground, all by itself, with no nest around, it may be a species of bird that uses a scrape nest (just a simple scrape in the dirt) and they will return to lay more eggs until they have a full clutch before they start incubating the eggs.  Please do not disturb nests or eggs that you may discover.


I live in the United States and am only able to identify birds, eggs and nests of North American species

PLEASE READ THE INSTRUCTIONS BELOW FOR EGG & NEST IDENTIFICATION HELP!

If you have found a nest or bird eggs you would like to have identified, please send me an email with the following information:

  • The city and state where the nest was discovered
  • The habitat and location of the nest (i.e. deciduous or pine forest, grassland, marsh, farm or city and nest was in a bush or tree, on the ground, in my potted plant or in the seat of the tractor)
  • A description of the nest, what the nest is made of and its dimensions
  • What the eggs look like, color, size, shape and how many eggs in the nest

If you can get a photo of the nest and eggs, with a coin in the photo for size comparison, it will facilitate the identification.  I enjoy the stories of nest discoveries and urge you to send me an email with your questions.

If you are going to put up nestboxes and monitor them, it is important to know what species of bird is nesting in your birdhouses. I have put together a small sampling of the eggs and nests of the birds that I have nesting in my nestboxes here.

Below the nest box photos there are several photos of bird nests and eggs, some from myself and others from readers asking for identification help. PLEASE REVIEW THE PHOTOS BELOW TO SEE IF THEY MATCH THE EGGS OR NEST YOU ARE INQUIRING ABOUT. I get many inquiries and try to answer all of them in a timely fashion by contacting you directly via email. This page will be updated often with my information and photos as well as photos from readers who give me permission to post their finds. Enjoy!

Western Bluebird Nest and Ash-throated Flycatcher Nest

Western Bluebird Nest, western bluebird eggs

Ash-thoated Flycatcher Nest, ash-throated flycatcher eggs

The Ash-throated flycatcher nest (right) is made up of grass, weeds, fur and hair. Sometimes containing some cow or horse dung.

The Western Bluebird nest (left) is a collection of fine grasses and sometimes include a feather or two, leaves and thin bark. It has a fairly shallow cup with, if your lucky, up to seven pale blue eggs.

 
 
 


 

Tree Swallow Nest and House Sparrow Nest

Tree Swallow nestHouse Sparrow Nest

The house sparrow nest (right) is a jumble of course grasses and weeds with seed heads and (in this case) Emu feathers that completely fill the nestbox. The nest will form a tunnel from the entrance hole almost to the bottom of the box. The tree swallow nest (left) will look similar to the western bluebird with many more feathers. In this case the swallows had lots of goose feathers nearby.

 
 
 


 

Oak Titmouse Nest and House Finch Nest

Oak Titmouse Nest, oak titmouse eggsHouse Finch Nest, house finch eggsThe Oak Titmouse nest (left) is made of grasses and moss, with fine hair and/or fur and sometimes small feathers making a deep cup for the eggs.  The House Finch nest (right) is made of fine hair (horse hair in this nest) woven into a perfect bowl.

 
 
 


 

Cavity Nester’s Egg Comparison

Cavity Nester's Egg Comparison

These eggs are all fairly shiny after the mother has been sitting on them for any length of time.  Note the subtle differences between the Ash-throated Flycatcher’s egg and the House Sparrow’s egg.  The House Sparrow egg has a cream, green or grayish background with irregular fine brown speckles whereas the Flycatcher’s eggs have an ivory or tan background with streaks or blotches of dark brown, purple or gray, heavier at the large end of the egg.

Ash-throated and Great Crested Flycatcher Nest and Eggs

The Great Crested Flycatcher is the eastern cousin to the Ash-throated Flycatcher. I just received an excellent photo of the Great Crested Flycatcher’s nest and eggs from Page, one of my readers from North Carolina, and I thought it would be nice to show the difference between the Great Crested Flycatcher’s nest (normally with the snake skins) and (more heavily streaked) eggs…

and the Ash-throated Flycatcher we have here out West.

White-breasted Nuthatch Nest and Chicks

White-breasted Nuthatches nests are floored with bark flakes and strips and lumps of earth; with a cup of finer bark shreds, grasses and rootlets, but mainly lined with fur, wool, hair and feathers. Their eggs are smooth and slightly glossy usually white, sometimes tinted creamy or pink. Speckled and spotted with light red, reddish-brown, brown, and purplish-red, and sometimes paler gray and purple. You can see a photo of them on my friend Bet’s page here. Here is a close-up of the chicks in the nest.

House Sparrows are a non-native, invasive species in North America and are not protected by law.  They will take over nest boxes and chase off or kill native birds.  There are several things you can do to protect your nest boxes against this invader.  For extensive information on this subject, please visit my friend Bet Zimmerman’s Page.

American Kestrel Nest and Eggs

This is a photo I took while helping my friend Steve monitor some of his American Kestrel boxes.  He has over 75 Kestrel boxes he monitors every year, this being only a small percentage of the nest boxes he monitors.  The American Kestrel lays 4 to 5 smooth, non-glossy, cream colored eggs, about twice the size of a Western Bluebird egg, with irregular brown spots.  Notice they have only a small amount of sawdust as nesting material.

American Kestrel Eggs, American Kestrel nest

Chimney Swift Nest with Chicks

This was sent to me by Larry Arnold from Atlanta Georgia. He found this nest built inside his fireplace. This is a view looking down at the nest.  He said that the baby’s singing for food filled the living room! That’s the adult bird right in the middle of the photo. The nest is a shallow half-cup of short dead twigs broken off by the birds in flight and glued together and to the wall by saliva! There is no lining and the eggs are white, 20 x 13mm.

Bushtit Nest

Here in the West and Southwest we have Bushtits. They build this elaborate pendulous gourd-shaped nest with a small, circular, side-facing hooded entrance near the top shown above, sent to me by Mark Prichard. The photo below was found by Chris Nelson in Chico, a community close to my location.

For more information on these cooperative breeders can be found in the post I wrote when I found a pair of Bushtits building a nest.

Mourning Dove Nest and Eggs

Mourning Doves breed in a wide variety of habitats. Open woodlands, cultivated areas with trees or shrubs, suburban gardens, semi-arid and arid areas within reach of water. Their nest is usually in a tree or shrub between 10 and 25 feet up; however, as you can se from these photos from some of my readers, they can be found almost anywhere. Their nest is a flimsy platform of twigs. They begin breeding in December to February in the south and April in the north. They have a long breeding season and will raise several broods per season. This photo was sent to me by Whitney from Louisiana.

Mourning Dove with Egg and Nestling

Here’s a close-up of the chick and egg

Mourning Dove Egg and Nestling

Here’s a photo of a Mourning Dove nesting on the ledge of a building from Melanie.

Mourning Dove Sitting on Nest

And the same bird with the nestlings.

Mourning Dove on Nest with Chicks

This bird decided the top of a light fixture was a good location from Christian in Florida.

Mourning Dove on Light Fixture

Mourning Dove Nest & Eggs on Light Fixture

And from Elizabeth in Denver, on her car in the garage!

Mourning Dove Nest & Eggs On Car

Mourning Dove Nest & Eggs On Car

And from Vinod in New Jersey, Mourning Doves eggs on the front door.

Mourning Dove Nest and Eggs

Whip-poor-will Nest and Eggs

The Whip-poor-will is a member of the Nightjar or Goatsucker family. They are nocturnal birds with large eyes, tiny bill, a large bristled gape, and very short legs. A voice in the night woods, they are more often heard than seen.

The Whip-poor-will breeds in drier, more open woodlands, or near woodland edge. They don’t build a nest but lay their two eggs on the ground in an open site under trees or under a bush, usually on a bed of dead leaves. A photo of this rare find was sent to me from Nicole in Pennsylvania.

Whip-poor-will Eggs

Chuck-will’s-widow Nest and Eggs

The Chuck-will’s-widow is the southern cousin to the Whip-poor-will. It breeds in mixed oak and pine woods and lays two eggs on the leaves or pine needles of open ground under the trees. This photo was sent to me by Linda from Arkansas.

Chuck-will's-widow Eggs And Nest

Ruby-throated Hummingbird Nest and Eggs

hummingbird nest, hummingbird eggs

Here is a great photo of a hummingbird nest from my friend Nina over at Nature Remains.  Go check out the entire photo story at her site. The typical hummingbird nest is tiny, about the size of half an English walnut shell.  They are usually built on a small forked branch about the size of a pencil. The outer part is covered with moss and plant fibers to camouflage the nest. Sometimes it is shingled with lichens like this one. The rest of the nest is made of plant down and spider webs.  Not just any spider webs either.  Hummingbirds use only fresh spider webs made the same day, before any bugs are trapped in the webbing.  Successful nests are usually built in a site that is out of the wind so the hummer moms can more easily control the nest temperature.

This photo of an Anna’s Hummngbird nest and eggs was sent to me by Cheryl from Salome, Arizona. Her friend Terry took the photos.

Here is the female hummingbird sitting in the nest

And finally, the first chick hatched. The yellowish egg is a mystery. I think it may be an unfertilized first egg, but you can see the other white egg and the dark colored chick with its black skin and gray down on the lower right.

American Robin Nest and Eggs

American Robin nest, robin nest, robin sitting in nest

This photo of an American Robin sitting on the nest was taken by my brother at his home in Lake Tahoe.  Robins will often build their nests on man-made structures in urban areas if other natural sites are not available.  Rain gutters and any type of ledge, like this electric meter, will suffice.

The female selects the site and builds the nest which may be placed anywhere from the ground to the tree tops.  She constructs the outer wall with dead grass and twigs, then brings in mud to reinforce the edge of the nest.  Finally she will line the cup with fine dead grass.

American Robin nest, robin nest, robin eggs

Sandra from Illinois sent me some photos of American robins nesting on the fire hose hook ups outside a fire house.

American Robin Nest with Eggs

Amerocan Robin Nestlings

American Robin Nestlings

American Robin Nestlings

House Finch Nest and Eggs

The House Finch is one of the most common backyard birds in the United States.  Their nest sites include pine, spruce, and palm trees; cactus; rock ledges; vents, ledges, or ivy on buildings (including especially parking structures); street lamps; hanging planters; and abandoned nests of other birds.  This nest was found in my neighbor’s hanging planter on her back porch.  Read my post here.

This photo of a House Finch nest built in a wreath on the front door was sent to me by Terri from Denver.

And from Bev in Tacoma Washington, House Finches nesting in a porch light

You can see the fecal droppings accumulate around the nest as the chicks grow

This is a House Finch nest that has been parasitized by Brown-headed Cowbirds.  The cowbird eggs are the larger, brown speckled eggs.

This is another great shot from Michael Jacobson in South Carolina, of a House Finch nest with five House Finch eggs and one Brown-headed Cowbird egg. You can read about the parasitic Brown-headed Cowbird here.

Mallard Nest and Eggs

The Mallard may be the most common duck found in North America. They breed near any type of fresh water, in a variety of habitats, though may be far from water. The nest is usually in cover on the ground, among tall vegetation, grasses, bushes, etc., and on small islands. The nest is a hollow lined with plant debris, leaves, grass, etc., the lining mixed with down and feathers. Down tufts are brown with paler centers and tips. Down covers eggs before incubation and when bird is away from nest. Outside diameter of nest is 11 to 12 inches, inside diameter 6 to 7 inches and depth, 4 inches. This photo from Shelley in Texas.

Mallard Nest and Eggs

This is the female sitting in the nest.

Mallard Female on Nest

I recently got some great photos from Jami in Michigan of a Mallard nest that was very close to her front porch. This is a photo of the nest and eggs.

Mallard Eggs & Nest

And then they started to hatch…

Mallard Ducklings Hatching

are they cute or what?

Mallard Ducklings Hatching

Mallard Ducklings Hatching

American Coot Nest and Eggs

American Coot nests are built in stands of emergent vegetation along margins of ponds, lakes, larger pools, and particularly prairie potholes. Vegetated margins of swamps with some open water, canals, sewage ponds, and slower-moving rivers are also use. The nest is a bulky cup of dead leaves and stems of waterside plants, often well raised. The outside diameter of the nest is 14 to 20 inches and the inside about 7 inches. These photos were sent to me by Mark Dakin from Oregon.

American Coot Nest with Eggs

American Coot Nest with Eggs

Killdeer Nest and Eggs

This is a typical Killdeer nest and eggs.  The nest begins as a simple scrape in the ground but as laying and incubation progress, rocks, bits of shell, weed stems, or other material are added.  Killdeer commonly nest on graveled road shoulders and in parking lots as well as on flat graveled rooftops.  See my post here.

American Oystercatcher

Another bird that nests in a scape or shallow hollow is the American Oystercatcher. Richard sent me this photo of their eggs from Tampa Florida. The American Oystercatcher breeds in open sites on coastal beaches, among rocks on islands, in dunes or on shingle beds; occasionally on saltmarsh. Their nest is a shallow hollow, unlined or with pieces of dead plants, small stones, broken shells, or other debris. Often on a small mount serving as a lookout. This clutch is probably not complete as they almost always lay three eggs.

American Oystercatcher Nest and Eggs

American Woodcock Nest and Eggs

The American Woodcock breeds in woodland sites, in low shrubby cover, or tall herbage, bordering clearings, in thickets or under scrub oaks or pines, or in open woodland with dead leaf cover on the ground, usually near a moist area. This first egg photo was sent to me by Michael from Ohio.

American Woodcock egg from Michael in Ohio

These next two photos were sent to me by Debbie from Michigan. The first is the Woodcock nest with eggs and the second image is a photo of the bird incubating the eggs.

American Woodcock Eggs from Debbie in Michigan

American Woodcock On Nest from Debbie in Michigan

House Wren Nest and Eggs

The House Wren breeds over a wide range of country, from open woodland to cultivation and human settlement, wherever there is a low shrubby cover and thickets, with holes or niches for nesting. This particular bird decided to build a nest in a cardboard box in Virginia. The photos were sent to me by Linda.

House Wren Nest and Eggs from Virginia

House Wren Nest and Eggs from Virginia

This close up of House Wren eggs is from Rebecca who lives in California.

House Wren Nest and Eggs from California

Carolina Wren Nest and Eggs

Here are some photos sent to me from Katherine in Atlanta, Georgia, of a Carolina Wren nest and eggs she found in her daughter’s playset refrigerator.

Isn’t that amazing nest construction?  Look how well placed those leaves are around the perimeter.

Here is a better photo of the Carolina Wren eggs

We hope for a successful outcome with the possibility of five new Carolina Wrens for the state of Georgia!

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Here is another Carolina Wren nest and eggs in a hanging basket from Judy in Texas.  Notice the typical domed style used by this species when the nest is not in a confined space like a nest box or the “refrigerator” above

Here is a shot of the eggs through the domed entrance

And a close up of the eggs where you can see what looks like a snake skin

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More Carolina Wrens from Kirsten in Texas.  This nest was discovered in a folded up lawn chair.  Thanks for the great photos Kirsten!

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Check out this Carolina Wren nest found by Laura in North Carolina.  It was in a sweatshirt hanging on the clothesline.

Carolina Wren

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And yet another Carolina Wren nest from Fannie in Virginia. She found this nest in a feed bucket by her rabbit hutch.

And a close-up of the egg

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This nest was found in a BBQ in Florida

Carolina Wren Nest and Eggs in BBQ

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And another photo of the Carolina Wren eggs…

Carolina Wren Nest and Eggs

and Momma Wren sitting in the nest!

Carolina Wren Fmale in Nest

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This is a photo from Ann in Texas of four Carolina Wren chicks three or four days old.

Baby Carolina Wrens, three or four days old

Carolina Wren nests are typically 6 feet or less off the ground. They are often bulky and constructed loosely of bark strips, dried grasses, dead leaves, oak catkins, sticks, pine needles, mosses, hair, feathers, light straw, wool clumps, shed snake skin, paper, plastic, and string.

Marsh Wren Male Building Nest

This is a photo of a male Marsh Wren building a nest at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. You can see the full sequence of photos and watch a video I filmed on my post here. You can see the eggs here.

Marsh Wren Male Building Nest

Cactus Wren Nest

The Cactus Wren breeds in arid regions with low scrub growth and cacti. The nest is a bulky conspicuous mass on a cholla cactus, in a low twiggy tree or shrub, often thorny, or on top of a yucca; occasionally  in buildings. It is a large domed structure about 12 inches in diameter. This photo was sent to me by a reader in Texas.

Cactus Wren Nest

Northern Cardinal Nest, Eggs and Nestlings

These photos of the Northern Cardinal nest, eggs and nestlings  were sent to me by one of my readers, Cindy Griffin.  You can visit her Flickr page here.

The nest not attached to the substrate; it is wedged into position. The bowl-shaped structure is composed of 4 layers: a rough outer material, leafy mat, grapevine bark, and grassy lining.  It may contain weed stems, pliable twigs, strips of bark, grasses, vines, rootlets, leaves, and pine needles. Paper and plastic are common in the outer cup as seen in this nest.

Here you can see the pine straw making up the inner cup

And two healthy newborn nestlings!

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Carmen sent me photos of this Northern Cardinal nest in Texas which has been parasitized by a Bronzed Cowbird. The Bronzed Cowbird egg is the light blue, unmarked egg in the nest.

These are the chicks shortly after hatching, hard to tell one species from the other

As the chicks get older, you can begin to see the difference

The Northern Cardinals have the brown plumage (in the foreground) and the Bronzed Cowbird has the darker feathering coming in and has its eyes open.

Eastern Meadowlark Nest and Eggs

The Eastern Meadowlark breeds in open grassland, meadows and pastures, and in similar low herbage such as clover, alfalfa, or young corn. Their nest is on the ground in growing herbage, concealed by a domed top and overhanging grasses. This nest photo was sent to me by Josh from Rochester New York. You can see a photo of the eggs here.

Eastern Meadowlark Nest from Rochester, NY

Western Meadowlark Nest and Eggs

The Western Meadowlark makes a similar nest to its Eastern cousin. These photographs were taken by Jennifer in California.

Western Meadowlark California

Western Meadowlark California

Brown Thrasher Nest, Eggs and Chicks

This is a Brown Thrasher sitting in her nest from Mike Whalen

Brown Thrashers nest very low in a shrub or bush, near the ground , or on the ground under a bush, shrub or small tree. Rarely more than 7 feet up, usually under 3 feet. The nest is a cup with a loose outer layer of twigs, then dead leaves, bark, small twigs, and grass stems, lined with rootlets or fine grasses.

The chicks have dark pinkish-flesh colored skin. Their down is dark gray on their head, back, wings and thighs. Their mouth is creamy yellow, orange towards the throat and their gape flanges are white.

Northern Mockingbird Nest and Eggs

Daryl’s tractor quit on him in the field last November and when the weather got good enough for him to check it out, he found this Northern Mockingbird nest had been built in the fan shroud.

This Northern Mockingbird nest was discovered by Kim in Orlando Florida, in the crotch of a pear tree.

California Thrasher Nest and Eggs

The California Thrasher breeds in chaparral, scrub of lower moutain slopes, and along watercourses. They nest in a low tree or shrub, usually 2 to 4 feet up, but occasionally up to 9 feet. his bird was nesting in a friend’s yard.

California Thrasher In Nest

California Thrasher Eggs

Curve-billed Thrasher Nest and Eggs

The Curve-billed Thrasher breeds in arid places with sparse scrub growth and cacti, open areas in chaparral with prickly pears, and around settlements in arid areas. They frequently nest in cholla cactus, 3 to 5 feet up, or in low trees where they may nest up to 12 feet. These photos were sent to me by Kayla from Arizona.

Curve-billed Thrasher Nest Arizona

Curve-billed Thrasher Nest Arizona

European Starling Nest and Eggs

The European Starling is an introduced species from Europe that breeds in a range of habitats where cavities occur near open areas of herbage. These photos of their nest and eggs was sent to me from Dick and Joan in Tennessee. They found the nest in their barbeque when they opened it up for the first time to use it in the Spring. You can see a post I wrote on this ubiquitous bird which includes a magnificent video of a murmuration of Starlings.

European Starling Nest and Eggs from Tennessee

European Starling Nest and Eggs from Tennessee

Cordilleran Flycatcher Nest and Eggs

This uncommon Western Empidonax Flycatcher breeds in shaded woodlands in foothills and on lower mountain slopes, usually near streams or moist ravines. They nest in a sapling or shrub, in a cavity in a tree trunk, a crevice or cavity in a rock face, a mine shaft, or on a ledge, on a a stump, or among tree roots by a stream, in or under low banks of streams, or on ledges or in crevices of buildings. This photo was sent to me from Steve in Telluride Colorado.

Cordilleran Flycatcher Nest and Eggs

The nest is a cup of green moss with a lining of finer materials and hair. Sometimes it includes bark strips, fine rootlets, and dead leaves with a fine lining. Isn’t that a cool nest?

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Nest and Eggs

This beautiful Flycatcher breeds regularly from southeastern Colorado, southeastern New Mexico, south Nebraska, southwestern Missouri, western Arkansas, and western Louisiana south through southern Texas.  This is a photo of the eggs and nest from Michael in Texas.

And more great photos of the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher from Denise in Oklahoma City

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Eggs

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher chicks in Nest

Eastern Kingbird Nest and Eggs

These photos from Jodie in New York shows the diversity of nests built by Eastern Kingbirds.  This one built in a roll of rope on top of a slide.

Black-throated Sparrow Nest and Eggs

This photo of the Black-throated Sparrow nest and eggs was sent to me by Maria from Nevada. This beautiful sparrow breeds in arid or desert areas with sparse cover of shrubs or cactus. They nest low in a small bush or cactus from 6 to 18 inches up, in a fork. The nest is a cup of fibers, blades and stems of grasses, weed stems and small twigs; lined with fur, hair, wool, fine grasses, and plant down, usually pale in color.

Black-throated Sparrow Nest and Eggs

Chipping Sparrow Nest and Eggs

Chipping Sparrows breed in open woodland, on woodland edge and in clearings in parkland, cultivation with trees and in gardens. Their nest is in a tree, usually in a conifer, a shrub or a vine, occasionally in other sites, from 3 to 60 feet up but mostly between 3 and 20 feet up. This nest was found by Sasha’s three year old son in a gooseberry bush in Nebraska. You will note that there is a Brown-headed Cowbird egg in the nest with the three sparrow eggs.

Chipping Sparrow Nest & Eggs

Savannah Sparrow Nest and Eggs

The Savannah Sparrow breeds in open areas with grass or short vegetation, including meadows, dunes, tundra, sedge, bogs, prairie, salt marsh, and grass islands. They nest on the ground, sunk in a small hollow and usually concealed by a tuft of vegetation overhanging it. This photo submitted by Don from Point Reyes California.

Savannah Sparrow Nest and Eggs

Song Sparrow Nest and Eggs

The Song Sparrow breeds in low shrubby growth and thickets in a variety of habitats, but most often in moist or swampy places. Earlier nests are mostly on the ground under a tuft of grass or weed clumps. Later nests often in shrubs or trees, usually up to 4 feet.

Song Sparrow Nest and Eggs

White-crowned Sparrow Nest and Eggs

The White-crowned Sparrow breeds in open, stunted woodland and scrub in the north, similar habitat on western mountains and in cleared, cultivated, or burnt-over areas in forest.  The nest is on the ground, partly concealed in moss and low shrubby growth, or in or under a grass tuft or fern, orat the base of a shrub. They can also be a few feet above the ground in a bush or low tree branch, exceptionally mush higher. These were sent to me by Danielle from Washington.

White-crowned Sparrow Nest and Eggs

White-crowned Sparrow Nestling

White-crowned Sparrow Nestling

Dark-eyed Junco Nest and Eggs

Dark-eyed Juncos nests are rarely higher than 8 feet up. They nest in open woodland and forest edge. The nest is on the ground among tree roots or partly hidden by brushwood, stump or rock. They will also nest in low shrubs or on conifer branches. This photo was sent to me by Shawn and Kelly Benshoof.

Hooded Oriole Nest

This is a Hooded Oriole Nest attached to the underside of a giant Bird of Paradise leaf, submitted by Chris in Carlsbad California.

Orchard Oriole

This is a photo sent in by Wendy from Averill Park New York of an Orchard Oriole nest

Bullock’s Oriole Nest

Bullock’s Oriole nests are suspended in a twig fork or often on an ascending branch. They are a pensile pouch of long plant fibers, flax, juniper or willow bark woven into a deep cup, lined with hair, plant down, wool, fine grasses, and moss. This photo sent to me by Susan from Denver, Colorado.

This is one I found in Redding, California with a chick in it!

Red-eyed Vireo Nest

Dalila submitted these great photos of a Red-eyed Vireo nest from southern Ontario, Canada.  You can see the original photos on her blog here.

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The Red-eyed Vireo breeds in deciduous woodland with dense undergrowth, or scattered groups of trees in open or cultivated areas. The nest is suspended in a horizontal fork, usually of a shrub or low tree branch, 5 to 10 feet up. Another Red-eyed Vireo nest with eggs sent to me from Brigitte in New Hampshire showing nice photos of the eggs.

Red-eyed Vireo Nest

Red-eyed Vireo Eggs

Red-eyed Vireo Eggs in Nest

American Redstart Nest with Eggs

American Redstart nests are usually surrounded by foliage within well-vegetated sites, usually against the main trunk of a live tree or in leafy woody shrubs, essentially always supported by at least 3 more-or-less vertical stems for attachment of nest material. The nest is a firm compact cup of grasses, bark fibers and strips, small rootlets and vine tendrils; bound with spider’s webs and ornamented externally with lichen flakes, birch bark, seed heads and plant down; lined with fine grasses, plant and bark fibers, and often hair. These photos were sent to me by a reader from Massachusetts.

American Redstart Female in Nest

The large bluish egg with brown specs belongs to the Brown-headed Cowbird

American Redstart Nest with Eggs

California Quail Eggs and Nest

This photo was sent to me by my friend Amber Galusha.  They are California Quail eggs found right next to her driveway.  You can see the full story on her blog.

Gambel’s Quail Eggs and Nest

Gambel’s Quail breed in arid desert scrub. Their nest is a shallow scrape on the ground at the base of the trunk of a small tree or shrub, under a low shrub or fallen branches, or sheltered and shaded by a tall tuft if herbage. This photo was sent to me from Scottsdale Arizona from Nancy’s yard.

Gambrel's Quail Eggs and Nest

Barn Swallow Nest and Eggs

The Barn Swallow nest is an open shallow cup of mud pellets mixed with vegetable fibers and plant fragments, usually stuck against a vertical surface, often found on upper ledges of rafters in buildings. They are sparsley lined with feathers. These photos were sent to me by Sonja.

Claire sent me some more great photos of a Barn Swallow nest with close up shots of the eggs.

Barn Swallow Nest with Eggs

Barn Swallow Nest with Eggs

Here is another excellent example of the Barn Swallow nest and eggs sent from Tennessee by Joseph.

Barn Swallow Nest and Eggs

Black Phoebe Building a Nest

The Black Phoebe cements its nest to the vertical surface of a wall with mud. They are usually three to ten feet off the ground and the top of the nest is normally between 1 to 2 3/4 inches from the ceiling of the structure being used. You will notice mud on the walls of the building in these photos. The female flutters near or clings to the wall and places or flings mud pellets onto the vertical surface, forming a horizontal line or shallow upward arc. She builds the base of the nest out from the wall into a platform, then builds the nest cup up from the platform and lines the nest. Thanks go to Michelle from California for these photos.

Black Phoebe Building Nest

Black Phoebe at Nest

Eastern Phoebe Nest and Eggs

Eastern Phoebes usually breed around farms and other buildings. More often on a ledge, rafter or raised site with some overhanging protection, in or on a building, under a bridge, or in any niche of this kind. Their nest is a cup of mud pellets mixed with moss, dry grass, fibers or weeds, and vine stems; lined with fine fibers, rootlets and hair. This photo comes to me from Aimme.

Eastern Phoebe Eggs and Nest

Here are some more shots of an Eastern Phoebe nest with eggs from Kim in Michigan.

Eastern Phoebe Nest with Eggs

Eastern Phoebe Nest with Eggs

And another from Stephen in Indiana showing the nestlings!

Eastern Phoebe chicks In Nest

Cliff Swallow Nests

Cliff Swallows breed in places where rock outcrops, cliff faces or buildings provide sites. The nest is a rounded mud structure fixed to a vertical surface protected by an overhang. They usually nest in large colonies.

Northern Rough-winged Swallow Nest with Eggs

The Northern Rough-winged Swallow usually nest in a burrow dug in a steep-faced earth, sand or gravel bank. Burrows are of variable length and old Kingfisher burrows are also used. They will also use crevices and holes in buildings and man-made structures, drainpipes and even dryer vents like this nest sent to me by Kelly Bannister. Their nest is an accumulation of grasses, weeds and loose plant material with a cup lined with fine grasses and rootlets.

Violet-green Swallow Nest and Eggs

The Violet-green Swallows nest in a crevice or hole in a cliff surface or rock outcrop, in a natural cavity in a tree or in a man-made nest box. Their nest is an accumulation of dry grasses with a cup lined with feathers and sometimes hair or fine fibers.

Violet-green Swallow Eggs in Nest

Black-billed Magpie Nest

These photos of a Black-billed Magpie nest were taken by Laura Young near Banner Wyoming. These huge stick dome nests are built around a mud bowl and lined with grass, rootlets and horse hair.

You can see the mud used to anchor the platform in this photo

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Nest and Eggs

The Blue-gray Gnatcatcher usually nest in a tree or shrub, saddling a branch or in a fork. This one sent to me by Dan From Missouri was nesting on a grape vine in his vineyard. Their nests are a deep, rounded cup, neat and compact, narrowing slightly at the rim. Made of plant down, bark and plant fibers, fine grasses, catkins, feathers, and hair; bound together and to the support by spider’s webs; the outside covered with lichen flakes; and lined with plant down and feathers. They are usually built saddling a limb or fork. Saddled nests are often built against a twig or side branch, also around twig or knot for support; often screened above by foliage with high leaf density immediately surrounding the nest.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Nest

They usually lay 4 to 5 very pale to pale blue eggs, speckled, spotted or blotched with chestnut-red, purplish-red, or reddish-brown and paler purple.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Nest with Eggs

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Nest

Common Nighthawk Nest and Egg

The Common Nighthawk breeds in open areas, forest clearings, cultivation, barren rock, gravel or beaches. They nest on the bare ground and frequently on the flat graveled roofs of buildings. This bird is nesting in the parking lot of Roger McCollum’s  business in Alabama! He has placed cones around the female who is sitting on the nest in this photo he sent me.

Here’s a nice close up of her

They usually lay two eggs but so far Roger has seen only this one.

Common Nighthawks rely on their camouflaged plumage to evade predation but if a predator gets too close they will react and may actually flush from their nest.

Roger has posted his Common Nighthawk story on his Facebook page.

For an in depth look at bird eggs there is a great resource at The Royal Albert Museum .

Marian J. Cohen March 23, 2012 at 8:48 am

See above: We are in central VA, just south of Richmond. How do I get photos to you? Nest wedged between house siding and porch light. Twiges and some kind of white stuffing for a dog toy maybe. Inside is fine brown grass and it’s very shallow for 5 chicks. Eggs are maybe 1/2 – 5/8 inch in length.

Prentiss April 1, 2012 at 2:28 pm

I am a painter and have been painting nests that I have borrowed from friends. I just received one that has a very narrow opening less than a inch across, is made of fine grass, is circular and about 3 inches tall, 3 1/2 inches across. There are light blue eggs about 1/3 of inch long deep down inside the nest. My friend thought it was a hummingbird nest, but seems much too big to me.

Lori Ashcraft April 7, 2012 at 3:59 pm

OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, NOOOOOOOO!!!
My husband found three little white eggs with sparse brown speckles in the backyard. I made a simulated birds’ nest in a small basket with nest-like natural grass in the nest and on top of it. I put them in our garage, which is fairly warm and slightly covered them. Oh, God. What have I done???? I live in Austin, TX.

Marti Morgan April 12, 2012 at 7:10 pm

I found a light brown egg about 1 inch long and 1 inch wide lying on the bare ground near the fence of my chicken run. It definately did NOT come from my hens. I live in central Iowa. Any idea what kind of bird it is from?

Harold Molineu April 15, 2012 at 8:34 am

We too have a pair of small gray birds attempting to build a nest atop an outdoor light under our eaves. It is mud-based and just starting, so no eggs yet. This bird is new to us (SE Ohio). It is definitely not from the swallow family. Sounds like the Richmond VA bird.?
Any help on ID

jacci April 29, 2012 at 6:49 am

i found an egg while me and my dad were scotting for my cats kittens. we didn’t find them, but we found this kinda long, about as big as a qaurter egg. we agreed it was pigeon, and now i am going to keep it. but just how am i supposed to take care of it when it hatches

Michael Anselmo April 29, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Found a perfectly round white egg on flat teeing ground today. It still had yolk and white but looked as if another bird had pecked a few holes in it. It is about one inch diameter and looks like a small ping pong ball. Port st. Lucie, FL. I have egg and pictures if you email me.

chloe May 8, 2012 at 7:33 am

how long does it take for mouring dove eggs to hatch? need to cut the front lawn!

Heather Pilz May 9, 2012 at 6:29 am

I found a nest of a house finch I think, in my hanging fern. It has 5 little eggs and 1 speckled brown interloper egg. What should I do? Should I remove it?

Larry May 9, 2012 at 7:26 am

@Chloe Mourning Doves incubate for two weeks and then it’s another two weeks before the young leave the nest

Dana Jory May 9, 2012 at 9:11 am

I live in Central Michigan, in a fairly rural area. Found a nest on the ground under a shrub with 12 eggs. Eggs are the size of a typical chicken egg that you would buy in the grocery. There aren’t any chickens around my house. Have not noticed any bird coming or going from the nest.
Unfortunately, the eggs have been removed from the nest. The nest was made from small twigs from the shrub that it was under. The size of the nest is around 10″ in diameter and the eggs were laid on top of each other, somewhat buried down in the landscape rock.
The eggs have a greenish tint to them. I am having trouble getting a picture to download.

I hope you can help!!

Sincerely,

Dana Jory

Ashley May 9, 2012 at 4:28 pm

I found what I believe is Carolina Wren eggs with one blue spotted one with brown speckles – which now I’m worried is a cowbird egg??? Should I take out the blue one? I came home yesterday to a broken pink egg in the driveway (3 yards away from the mailbox by the door), and now today another pink egg has been hollowed out! Live in North Texas if that confirms that these could be Caroline Wren eggs. I couldn’t see the bird up close because it got upset when I went to grab the mail and started yelling at me. I have signs pointing to the door slot for the mailman but apparently he can’t read?

Treasure Jones May 12, 2012 at 1:53 pm

well my step dad came in from outside saying a mother bird abandoned her eggs and i had to nurse them back to health o_0. sooo it was a little nest on the ground by our house it looked like the ash-throated picture on the website. there were two eggs one is white with brown speckles the other looks slightly reddish with brown speckles but unfortunately the white one has a crack in it :(. Sooo right now their actually sitting right beside me and im not sure what to do now. any suggestions?

Larry May 12, 2012 at 7:52 pm

@Treasure I would suggest that your step dad put the nest back where he got it and watch it for several days to see if the mother bird comes back to lay more eggs. Sometimes people think a nest is abandoned but birds rarely abandon their nests. If you think about it, they spend lots of time choosing a mate and actually mating to fertilize the eggs, build a nest, which sometimes takes not only days but weeks, the female lays a clutch of eggs and begins to incubate them. That’s a lot of work to do to just walk away from a nest with fertile eggs.

Sometimes the nest has been preyed upon and the mother bird killed causing the nest to be abandoned but otherwise, I always assume that the nest is active and therefore not to be disturbed.

My advice is to not even try to incubate and raise a wild bird. It is practically impossible to hatch and rear a wild bird from an egg. Even if you could keep the egg at the correct temperature and humidity to hatch it, the bird won’t be able to survive without its parents teaching it how to find food and escape predators. My advice in these situations is to simply let nature take its course.

One thing you may do if you find an egg that you know has fallen out of a nest, in other words, it is laying under a nest that you can see above where the egg is found, you can attempt to put it back in the nest. Birds other than some vultures, have no sense of smell, so you can place the egg back into the nest to allow it a chance of hatching, making sure, or course, that it looks like the other eggs in the nest.

JOANNA May 13, 2012 at 7:48 pm

i think the carolina wren is in ga…..i have flower boxes that hang at the bottom of my windows and i realize there was a nest so i left it alone well i never seen a bird go in and out so i looked in there and there were 4 very small eggs solid white with a few brown specks on the bottom and the nest is like a burrow nest like the picture you have up for the carolina wren….i have never seen eggs so small ….i honestly thought they were hummingbird eggs. please contact me back because i have now noticed crows flying around the window and i do not want the baby birds when they hatch in danger. thank you

Larry May 13, 2012 at 11:00 pm

@Joanna there is not much you can do but watch nature take its course. It should be fun to watch the Carolina Wrens raise their chicks! Relax and enjoy!

Larry May 13, 2012 at 11:04 pm

@Ashley you could have a Carolina Wren nesting there and you could have a Brown-headed Cowbird parasitizing the nest. Even though the cowbird is a nest parasite, it is a native bird and you should leave the egg in the nest. Sometimes the owner of the nest (the wren) will toss out the cowbird egg and sometimes if you take out the egg, the cowbird will come back and lay more eggs in the nest.

I suggest letting nature take its course but that is up to you.

Amy May 14, 2012 at 7:22 am

i found a bird nest in my dryer vent. i didn’t realize it was a nest until i stuck my hand in the vent to see what was clogging up the dryer vent and pulled out a bunch of twigs, leaves, and fabric lent and an egg. I felt terrible because i just ruined a bird nest but i had to get it out of the dryer vent. there was 4 eggs and 2 were broken. i looked through this site and to me the eggs look exactly like a Carolina Wren’s eggs. I’ve included everything you asked to say about what the eggs look like except my city and state. I do not feel comfortable posting a comment with where i live. Please email me i have a few more questions.

Pat May 14, 2012 at 12:46 pm

I have found a cream colored egg with discoloration that I assume is dirt or mud. It was in a large (about a foot, foot and a half diameter) nest on the ground on a rocky riverbank. It was made of twigs and long grass which is abundant in the area. There were pieces of shell along with it as well as a fair amount of lightly colored down. The egg, from what i’ve read, is large as it is about the size of an iPhone. It was found in the Thunder Bay (Canada) area on the northen bank of lake Superior. Any idea what species of bird laid it?

Kathy Moore May 14, 2012 at 8:45 pm

I need help identifying some eggs found in my sister’s garden. I don’t have outlook, so can’t send you a photo. Please respond to my email and I will send you a photo. She lives in a rural area. Eggs were found in a country style garden, away from the house.

stephanie gagnon May 24, 2012 at 3:19 pm

i found a nest at work today. its a small nest crammed in a corner on a wood beam. the nest is fairly small and has about 6 eggs that are a creamy pink colour. i have researched everywhere and i can not identify this bird! i live in Quebec Canada.
any help would be greatly appreciated.

Larry May 24, 2012 at 4:21 pm

@Stephanie this sounds like an Eastern Phoebe nest to me. The female only incubates the eggs for about two weeks and the chicks leave the nest at about 16 days old. They usually raise two broods per season. They also usually nest near water as they feed mostly on flying insects.

Larry June 8, 2012 at 10:57 pm

Due to the huge number of egg and nest inquiries I receive during nesting season, I don’t have time to check both my emails and the comments on this page. For this reason, and to help eliminate spam, I have closed this page to comments.

If you would like help on identifying a nest or bird eggs, you must send me an email with the following information:

  • The city and state where the nest was discovered
  • The habitat and location of the nest (i.e. deciduous or pine forest, grassland, marsh, farm or city and nest was in a bush or tree, on the ground, in my potted plant or in the seat of the tractor)
  • A description of the nest, what the nest is made of and its dimensions
  • What the eggs look like, color, size, shape and how many eggs in the nest

If you can get a photo of the nest and eggs, with a coin in the photo for size comparison, it will facilitate the identification. I try to answer all inquiries as quickly as possible

Comments on this entry are closed.

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