If you are like me, each year you find a number of broken eggshells in your yard. When you make such a find, one of the first questions you often ask yourself is, “I wonder if this egg successfully hatched or was broken by a predator?”
Today I found the eggshell shown in the photo accompanying this blog. I found in lying on the driveway beneath a tall loblolly pine. Based on its size and color, I suspect it is a mourning dove eggshell.
The first thing to look for when you discover a shell is whether or not it looks like it was broken open along a jagged, line near the center of the shell. If that proves to be the case, more than likely a young bird made this cut using an egg tooth attached to its upper bill. Shortly after the bird hatches, it loses this handy tool. If this cut extends around the circumference of the egg, more than likely the young bird successfully hatched.
If, however, the shell appears crushed, has yolk attached to the inside of the shell, or displays puncture holes, the egg was the victim of a predator.
From the looks of this eggshell, it appears my yard is home to at least one hatchling mourning dove. I hope the other eggs in the nest successfully hatched too.