Female Robins need to consume calcium in order to lay eggs. (Photo: © Justin Oliver)
Female birds need to eat calcium to have enough of the mineral to lay their eggs. But it can be hard to find enough in nature. We can help our backyard birds by offering them some extra calcium in bird feeders and by recycling our used chicken egg shells. BirdNote®’s Michael Stein explains.
CURWOOD: It’s Living on Earth, I’m Steve Curwood.
Chickens put a lot of energy into producing strong egg shells and there are ways to reuse them. They can add calcium to compost, and in the garden, they are supposed to deter slugs. And as BirdNote’s Michael Stein reports, you can even recycle them for wild birds, especially in spring time.
Recycle Your Eggshells to Help Nesting Birds
[American Robin song]
Birds’ eggs are among nature’s most elegant creations. But they’re not easy to make.
This American Robin will lay one egg per day for three to four days.
[American Robin call]
To make her eggs, the female robin has to use a great deal of calcium. But she can’t just pour herself a nice big glass of milk! She has to find her calcium in nature.
And it can be tough to find enough.
But we can help. During the nesting season, we can give the birds that visit our homes some of that crucial calcium.
Start off by putting calcium-enriched seed and suet in your bird feeders.
For the many species that don’t eat seed or suet—like robins—you can give them leftover chicken egg shells instead.
Rinse the shells off in the sink, spread them out on a cookie sheet, and bake them in the oven at about 250 degrees for ten minutes. You just want the shells to dry, not brown. When you’re done, crush them up.
Crushed eggshells can be mixed with birdseed and set out in a feeding tray or scattered right on the open ground.
And remember, always wash your hands after handling raw eggs.
[American Robin call]
Written by Bob Sundstrom
Producer: John Kessler
Managing Producer: Jason Saul
Editor: Ashley Ahearn
Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone
Assistant Producer: Mark Bramhill
Narrator: Michael Stein
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by Wil Hershberger.
BirdNote’s theme was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
© 2019 BirdNote May 2019
ID# egg-06-2019-05-14 egg-06
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