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Bird Eggs

We have a nest in a hanging flower basket on our balcony; I think it belongs to a house finch. The nest contains 4 light green eggs and 1, slightly larger, brown speckled egg. A neighbor told me that a different bird laid the brown speckled egg, and that I should remove it. Is this true?

Birding Expert - George H. Harrison

Yes, it is true. The brown speckled egg belongs to a brown-headed cowbird, which lays its eggs in the nests of other birds. It got this habit when it followed the migrating herds of bison on the prairies, and could not stay in any one place long enough to build a nest and raise its own young. It is illegal to remove eggs from birds' nests, but the young cowbird will dominate the nest, and may even push the house finches out.

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