Have you found eggshells in your garden, or around your local area? Discarded eggshells can actually tell us a lot about the birds that live around us.
If you find eggs, or eggshell, on the floor, it has likely been dropped there by a parent bird to stop predators being attracted to their newly hatched chicks, meaning it’s likely there are a few nesting birds nearby. But which breed of bird does the egg belong to? We have created this bird egg identification guide to help you find out!
Bird Egg Identifier
Robins tend to lay in April and have a clutch size of 4 – 5. Their eggs are white/cream in colour with light brown speckles and are usually quite small at about 2x.15cm each. American robins, on the other hand, lay blue eggs. This is where you may have heard the term ‘robin egg blue’ come from.
Learn more about robins here.
Woodpigeons are larger than most common UK birds, with much larger eggs (about 4.1 x 2.9cm each). They can lay all year round, but only have a clutch size of 2.
Their eggs are smooth and white, with no distinctive markings.
Blackbirds lay very pretty blue-green eggs which have light brown speckles. They lay 3 – 5 eggs at a time from early spring to mid-summer.
Magpies are the centre of many superstitions. Their eggs are blue-green in colour with brown markings. They are a relatively average size at 3.2 x 2.3cm and are laid in clutches of 5 to 8. Magpie’s laying season is early April.
Pheasants are popular gamebirds with colourful, decorated plumage. Their eggs are an olive-brown colour with no markings. Pheasants lay an impressive 7 – 15 eggs per clutch, and their laying season extends across April to June.
Starling lay pale blue eggs with no markings. Average size of these eggs is 2.1 x 3cm, and they lay clutches of 4 – 6 eggs. Their laying season is mid-April.
Song thrush lay in early spring and have 3 – 5 eggs per clutch. Their eggs are a light blue colour with small black markings, and measure on average 2.7 – 2cm.
Willow warblers lay white eggs with red/brown markings covering them. They usually lay over the months of April/May and have an average of 4 – 8 eggs per clutch.
Willow warblers lay white eggs with red/brown markings covering them. They Wren’s lay white/light brown eggs with brown markings. They are on average around 1.6 x 1.3cm each in size. The laying season of the wren is April.
House sparrows’ eggs are a white/light grey colour with grey/brown markings across them. They are small in size at 2.2 x 1.6cm and are laid in clutch sizes of 4 – 5 during the month of May.
A jackdaw lays pale blue, whiteish eggs which have grey and brown markings. Their eggs are medium sized at 3.6 x 2.6cm each. Jackdaws lay clutches of 4 – 5 eggs from April to May.
A chaffinch will lay its eggs in the month of April, producing a clutch size of 4-5 each time. Its eggs are off-white with brown/red splotches, and they are quite small.
Goldfinch eggs are an off-white colour with red/brown speckles. They are around 1.7 x 1.3cm in size and are laid in clutches of 4 – 6 during late April.
Collared Dove eggs are white-cream in colour with no markings. They only lay 2 at a time, and their laying season is quite long – from early spring to late autumn.
Jay’s lay pretty pale blue-green, or olive, eggs during the months of April to July. They have a clutch size of 3 – 10, and their eggs measure on average 3.2 x 2.3cm each.
Bullfinches laying season stretches across April to May. They lay light green-blue eggs with purple markings and have a clutch size of 4-5.
Learn more about bullfinches here.
What to do if you find a bird egg
If you find an egg, on the ground or otherwise, you should leave it alone. Once it is out of the nest, it is unlikely that it will hatch, and in any case, it’s illegal to take, possess or control wild bird eggs[i].
Additionally, you should not place the egg in another bird’s nest. This may cause the bird to reject the entire nest, leaving its whole clutch unhatched.
How can you help wild birds?
If you want to help your local wild birds, there are plenty of steps you can take. Transform your garden into a bird-friendly paradise by:
- Provide a place to eat. Placing an array of bird feeders such as ground feeders and tables will give birds a safe place to eat.
- Give them a variety of food. Suppling a mixture of nutritious bird seed and suet is a great way to keep birds fed and happy all year round.
- Safe nesting spots. Birds will benefit greatly from having safe places to nest and raise their young. Consider investing in nesting boxes.
Gemma Sharp is the resident writer for Love Garden Birds, a supplier of premium bird food and accessories. She has had a genuine love for our feathered friends from a young age, and has dedicated a lot of her time to learning all there is to know about them. If you’re struggling to pick the right bird feed for your garden, need help identifying a type of wild bird, or can’t decide where to put a nesting box, Gemma is the person to go to! She is passionate about sharing her years of learnt knowledge with the public. In her free time, she can be found feeding birds at home with her three young boys.