Give Nesting Birds a Calcium Boost By Saving Your Leftover Eggshells

Your breakfast discards can serve as vital nutrition for females as they make their own eggs.

This audio story is brought to you by BirdNote, a partner of The National Audubon Society. BirdNote episodes air daily on public radio stations nationwide. 


This is BirdNote.

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. 

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 eggshells 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 10 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.

Today’s show brought to us by the Bobolink Foundation.

I’m Michael Stein.



Producer: John Kessler

Managing Producer: Jason Saul

Editor: Ashley Ahearn

Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone

Assistant Producer: Mark Bramhill

Narrator: Michael Stein

Written by Bob Sundstrom

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