Bird Thread

And now for something completely different!

Sunday, April 4

Penny finds what appears to be a robin egg in the grass in our backyard while hunting for Easter eggs. Little Eggerton, as P is calling it, was pretty lucky, as Louise (our dog) had already eaten one of the hidden eggs and been caught trying to get at a second.

Next to a regular ol’ chicken egg.

I hit up the googles and learned:

  • It’s best to get it back into the nest. (Birds do not actually smell humans.)
  • If it looks empty when a bright light is shined through it, it’s not viable.
  • If it’s got any cracks, it’s not viable.
  • It needs to be kept at 100°F/38°C and rotated every 40-60 minutes.
  • Robin eggs hatch in 12-14 days.

This one had a little dark spot at the bottom and no cracks, so we tucked Eggerton into a washcloth under a 40W incandescent bulb and tried our best to keep the temp where it needed to be. We also tried rotating it best we could, but were unable to do so hourly.

(Yes. That’s a Blink camera watching the thermometer, and two thermometers, and a fan.)

Monday, April 5

Incubator arrives overnight from Amazon. ($70. I tell myself we’re saving a life.) I get Eggerton setup.

Thursday, April 8

On a whim, I decide to check the egg. If nothing’s happened—and nothing had two days ago when I last checked—we might be looking at disposing of the egg and returning the incubator. You can imagine my surprise when I see this.

None of that was there two days ago. And I can see the heart beating about 5 beats per second.

We’re gonna save a bird. Now I need to figure out how to hatch, feed, and get a robin ready to fly.


This is awesome!


All in on this! So cool!


This is very cool, Brian! What a fun way for Penny to learn. My father did something similar when I was a kid. But, y’know, without the fancy Amazon incubator. These are the types of things that made me curious about everything.


Saturday, April 10th

Here’s a 9-second video where you can see it moving. Also, lots of people talking, so you might mute.

Sunday, April 11th

We’re mildly concerned that something might have happened. The blood vessels appear to have gone away and there’s an odd, white spot at one end. From what I’ve managed to google, the white could be “concentrated bacteria”.

Staying positive, though, I swear I saw it move in there, so there’s hope.

I’m just a little nervous about opening the incubator now.

Oh! And in touch with a bird rescue about care after it hatches. They’ve kinda gone radio silent on me, but they say this is also their busiest time of the year and they know I have a couple days before this thing hatches. Basically, we’re looking at feeding it every 20 minutes for the first several days.



Oh it’s moving for sure in that video

Every twenty minutes :flushed: like, around the clock? I gotta give credit to momma Robin, that’s hard work!!!

1 Like

Tuesday, April 13th

It’s, uh… It’s not looking good. No more vibrant, red blood vessels. I’m not sure if the faint lines in the darker area are desiccated blood vessels or seams in the shell, but there was no motion or heartbeat or anything at this point.

I mean, that can’t be right, right?

Sunday, April 18th

He’s a goner. A robin’s egg should hatch within 12-14 days. I don’t know what happened. Maybe we didn’t keep enough water in the incubator and he baked. Maybe there was some kind of bacteria in the egg. Maybe he just wasn’t a viable embryo.

It’s kinda sad. And yet—it’s only natural.

See also: I was really worried about my ability to care for a baby bird. I mean, it’s a macabre, but I feel like it’s a lot easier to lose an un-hatched egg than to watch an actual baby bird struggle and die.

“Eggerton” is going into a small jewelry bag with some desiccant. At some point, he’ll be a small family treasure. “Yeah, he’s still in there, see?”