Bluebird and Small Cavity Nester Conservation
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Oak Titmouse Assists Egg Hatching

Click on "play" button in lower left to play (3 minute 29 second video)
Video taken with a NestCam by Sue Flynn of Ashland, Oregon

This unusual video shows a parent Titmouse "assisting" a hatch. Egg hatching can take many hours, and sometimes the embryo gets stuck and may die in the shell. This can happen during periods of low humidity, which causes the baby to get stuck to the membrane. This may have been the case here, as there was a dry heat wave in the area prior to the hatch.

Some people who raise domestic birds assist in hatching, but it’s quite tricky, as the embryo can die if it is not done properly. Apparently this parent figured it out, and the baby did survive. OR perhaps she had a craving for calcium? Parent birds often eat egg shells for nutrition and probably to keep the nest clean. Other times they remove them from the nest and drop them at a distance to avoid attracting predators.

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