Last Updated on April 4, 2022 by Cristina
Mother birds can abandon their nests for several reasons, but how long can a bird egg live without warmth? Whether you found an abandoned nest in your garden or a fallen egg, it’s vital to know how to provide the best care.
When it comes to hummingbirds, the mother is the only one laying the eggs. She leaves the nest only to feed. During the remaining time, she keeps the eggs at a 96°F to 98°F. Judging by the mother’s behavior, how long can a bird egg live without warmth? It all depends on when the egg is left without heat during the development process.
Follow us on the quest to find out how long can a bird egg live without warmth.
When Do Hummingbirds Abandon Their Nests
The hummingbird lays her eggs 1 to 2 days after mating. But not all eggs are fertilized. She might decide to leave the nest if she feels her eggs aren’t viable. How long can a bird egg live without warmth if they’re viable but abandoned? It depends on how old are the eggs.
In some cases, the hummingbird might get scared away from her nest. While these birds are intelligent, they sometimes build their nests near your front door or passage. If you regularly pass around, she might get scared and fleed the nest with viable eggs.
Do birds sit on their eggs all the time? Since hummingbirds lay their eggs alone and there’s no male to bring them food, she has to leave the nest couple of times a day. Even though they’re fast, hummingbirds often end up as prey.
How Long Can A Bird Egg Live Without Warmth
Once the bird lays her eggs, they start developing. How long can a bird egg live without warmth depends on its age. A recently laid egg can survive up to 48 hours without heat. Since it’s still an embryo without vital organs, the egg goes dormant until warmth is provided. Some birds even take a break after laying their eggs. They don’t hatch them just yet but keep a close eye on them.
When the developing process starts, the embryo inside the egg begins forming limbs, eyes, and other organs. How long can a bird egg live without warmth during this stage? Not much, a few hours maximum. Interrupting the egg’s growing process at this moment can be fatal.
During the last days of the incubation period, the egg is most likely to survive without warmth for a day or two. Since the bird inside is almost fully developed, it can produce its own heat.
What to Do With An Orphaned Egg
So you’re wondering how long can a bird egg live without warmth because you found an egg on the ground? Things are more complicated than just warmth. Birds rarely abandon vital eggs. But a strong wind or another bird might push the nest of the branch to the ground.
When finding an egg on the ground, the first thing to do is to look around for a nest. Unfortunately, this can be a hassle since hummingbird nests are only 1.5 inches in diameter and built to blend in with the surrounding.
If you find a nest, return the egg and step away so the mother can return. The nest is abandoned if you can’t spot a mother coming in a few hours. So can bird eggs hatch without mother? No, the mother keeps the eggs ideally warm and rotates them, so they don’t overheat.
Obtaining a wild bird egg is illegal. If you find one in your garden contact the nearest wild bird rescue center for directions.
How To Tell If Bird Egg Is Alive
How long can a bird egg live without warmth? Here’s how to check if the egg you found is viable.
1. Warm And Intact Egg
Feel the egg, if it’s still warm, there’s a great chance it’s fallen out of the nest, and it’s still alive. The fall might have caused some fractures, so inspect it carefully. A broken egg that’s not ready to hatch will eventually die.
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2. Use Candelight
You can use candlelight to check for veins and fetus inside the egg. Take the egg into a dark room, and light a tea candle. Hold the egg over the candle or another bright, and look for signs of veins. If the egg seems empty, it’s not alive.
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How long can a bird egg live without warmth? Set the egg on a flat surface and monitor it for a while. If you notice any wobbling or shaking, the fetus inside is alive and well developed, so you should keep it warm until you find a rescue center to take care of it.
Check Out What Do You Feed a Baby Hummingbird?
Taking Care Of A Baby Hummingbird
Hummingbird babies are around an inch large when they hatch and can easily fall off the nest. How long can a bird egg live without warmth after hatching?
When picking up a fledgling from the ground, it’s essential to keep it in a dark and quiet room and keep it warm. If you’ve already touched it, there’s no need to return it to the nest as the hummingbird will reject the baby.
Contact a wildlife rehabilitation center to assist you in providing the best care. Don’t attempt to feed the baby until you get guidance from professionals. Raising such a small bird is a hard task and it’s not always successful.
Bottom Line: Can Eggs Survive Without Warmth?
How long can a bird egg live without warmth depends on how old is the egg in question. During the first and last days, the egg can survive for 2 days without warmth. But in the middle of the growing process, more than a few hours without warmth will kill the embryo.
Whenever you come across an abandoned nest or egg, it’s best to contact your local wildlife rehabilitation center. Remember that keeping a wild bird’s egg is illegal.
Can bird eggs hatch without mother?
Most bird eggs can't hatch without the mother. If the egg is in the final developing stage, it might break out of the shell even if there's no mother around.
Do birds sit on their eggs all the time?
Hummingbirds lay their eggs in a span of one to two days, a day after matting. They lay on their eggs all the time except when they go to find food.
Meri is a passionate wildlife enthusiast with a special interest in hummingbirds. She loves to observe and learn about the different species of hummingbirds from around the world. After graduating from college with a degree in biology, Meri decided to pursue her dream of writing about hummingbirds and the importance of their conservation. She has since published several articles on the subject in various magazines and online publications. Her articles focus on the importance of habitat preservation, how hummingbirds contribute to ecosystem balance, and the unique behaviors of various species. When she’s not writing, Meri enjoys bird watching and taking pictures of her feathered friends. She also volunteers at her local wildlife center, helping to protect and rehabilitate injured or orphaned hummingbirds. Meri’s passion for hummingbirds drives her to spread awareness and promote their conservation, so that future generations will be able to enjoy their beauty.