Identifying Birds Eggs

My bird-loving daughter (yep, she gets it from me) found an egg at kindy.  According to her the egg is “creamish with brown speckles” and she found it on the concrete under a few trees.  We took a photo on the iphone, then googled it at home.

Turns out it’s quite tricky to identify eggs online.  We tried looking for an identification guide, but no luck.  We tried searching for the eggs of common birds around our area, but that proved an overwhelming task.  So instead, we thought about who we could ask for help online.  We decided to email the  museum!  I helped my big 4 year old to compose her email which went something like this:

I found an egg at my kindy.

It is creamish and has brown speckles.

I looked but I couldn’t see a nest.

I think it is a sparrow egg.

What do you think it is?

We sent the email off and I sent the girl off to bed!  (While she was asleep I sent the same email to a second museum to increase our chances of hearing back from at least one…)

We were delighted to receive speedy emails responses from BOTH museums.  The Discovery Centre at the Melbourne Museum emailed back the next day, with a detailed response from the Manager of Mammalogy and Ornithology and a child-friendly explanation from a Discovery Centre team member.  (So of course I gave them a shoutout on twitter.)  Shortly after we also received an email from an information officer at the Queensland Museum.  It too was informative and child-friendly.

As a teacher I was thrilled to see that big museums around Australia are not too busy to answer a young child’s request, and as a mother I was so touched by the thoughtfulness of each message.

If only they had both come back with the same answer!! The options are Noisy Miner, Welcome Swallow, House Sparrow, Magpie Lark or Eurasian Blackbird.  What do you think?

1. Our egg  2.  Noisy Miner (image)  3.  Welcome Swallow (image)

4.  House Sparrow (image)  5.  Magpie Lark (image)  6.  Blackbird (image)

14 thoughts on “Identifying Birds Eggs

  1. Did either museum give an idea about size? This can be a useful clue too. Did you look around and see if swallows or sparrows most likely hang out nearby…or is that too much detective work?…could be egg-citing though! LOL!
    .-= Juliet´s last blog ..Doves – Celebrating Journeys =-.

  2. It looks like the house sparrow shell to me. What a great exercise to go through with your child — she’s learning science, but more importantly she’s learning how and where to ask for help! The fact that they actually did help is outstanding.
    .-= Teacher Tom´s last blog ..Tree Part Beads =-.

  3. wow soooo cool to get a response from the museums!!! It really warms my heart to see large organisations such as these taking a few minutes to reply to an child’s email… it’s making these kinds of connections that our kids will remember for life!
    .-= katepickle´s last blog ..Grand Garden Plans =-.

  4. House sparrow. Have you checked that ALL the birds are local to your area? They do all look like quite common birds, but it could be a possible elimination.

    How fantastic of the museums. Makes me more sure of renewing my membership to the Melbourne museum next time I’m there, even if we don’t get there quite as often as we used to :)

  5. We just found the very same egg and it too was under trees on a path!! We loked on the internet and found your information – thanks, it helped us to identify our egg too! We think ours is a Murray Magpie egg as there are lots of those birds around our area.

  6. today me and my sister found a huge birds nest in the tree. The bird was scared off but it was a big bird black and it had a large tail. Not shore about any other features it had 4 greeny blue eggs with almost no markings some black specks only a couple can you please help us identify the species.

  7. I also have found a egg shell it is a bluish green color with brown stripes on it,i found it out side my house.I think it might be a grey bird?

  8. Thank you for this! I have just returned from my morning walk with my dogs with half of a birds egg (ie the result of a hatching) and yours is the only site that helped me to identify it. I have a noisy miner’s egg – I wanted it to be a blackbird! Once again, congratulations on this research with your daughter. You are pointing the way to a fascinating life of enquiry and interest for her.

  9. It is a house sparrow. I have a nest in one of my knockout roses. They just hatched about 2 weeks ago and had the same eggs you are showing. She had four of them and if you venture too close to the nest you will hear her because she never seems to be too far away.

  10. I think it is a house sparrow because I have the same egg at home and always see the mother come back to the nest which is house sparrow.

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