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Learn About Bird Eggs

How large is a hummingbird's egg? An owl's egg? Here's how common fruits and vegetables can help you size up these and other bird eggs.

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Participant Age: 7 to 12, Under 7
Approximate Cost: Under $10
Duration: 1 to 60 minutes
Difficulty:
Physical Challenge:
  • Small apricot (or large strawberry)
  • Avocado
  • Chicken egg
  • $name
  • Large seedless grape
  • Large grapefruit
  • Pea
  • Small tangerine
Arrange Fruit By Size

Put the fruits, vegetables, and egg on a table for your child to examine. Explain that each of the fruits and vegetables is about the same size as a real bird egg. Ask your child to arrange the "eggs" from smallest to largest.

Match the "Eggs" to Birds

Point to the chicken egg and ask your child what bird lays it. That's easy. But what bird lays an egg the size of the pea? The grape? The apricot? The tangerine? The avocado? The grapefruit?

 

Look up pictures of birds in bird or bird nest field guides and match them to their appropriate egg size.

 

Possible answers:

  • pea = hummingbird
  • grape = American robin
  • apricot = crow
  • tangerine = great horned owl
  • avocado = Canada goose
  • grapefruit = ostrich

Talk About What You Learned

Ask your child the following questions:

  • Does the size of an egg say anything about the size of the bird that laid it? (Smaller birds lay smaller eggs, and larger birds lay larger eggs.)
  • Why do you think some eggs are speckled? (Speckles make the eggs harder for enemies to see in the birds' nests. Plain eggs are usually laid by birds that hide them well out of sight - in a tree hole, for example.)
Resources

A good children's field guide is Birds, Nests, and Eggs by Mel Boring (Norwood Press).

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