Perserving bird eggs ....?

Submitted by Phil on 11/17/01. ( )

I was wondering if somebody knows how to preserve wild bird eggs?
Do I need to drain them?
Or, can I leave them whole, with the yolk inside?

Thanks for your time.

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Blow them.

This response submitted by The Taxidermologist on 11/17/01. ( )

The standard method of preserving bird eggs is to blow the contents out and allow them to dry. Oologists used a hand-held mouth blowpipe which is used to blow out the contents through a single hole. An egg drill was used, usually made in Germany in the heyday of egg collecting and it was a hand twisted metal shaft with a conical tip with edges to drill out circlar holes. The best oologists tried to get the entire contents out with the smallest holes. We have egg sets (the complete clutch) of species like ospreys with holes only slightly larger than 1/8 inch. The whole is usually placed in the equatorial plane and drilled in an area having the least pattern.
Current day preparators use a motorized drill or dremel tool and still use only one whole. I generally use a 50 cc syringe and place the needle inside the egg and very slowly add pressure until the egg begins to come out. It takes patience to get all the contents without craking the eggs - especially since some decomposing eggs are under pressure and as soon as you break the membrane just under the shell, the egg can explode and crack open at numerous places.
If the egg was fertile and an embryo began to develop but died in situ you can drill the egg open, add papaien or a similar enzymatic material, allow it to ferment a day or so and the embryo can sometimes be removed. I have had to resort to larger hole and dissecting sizzors to remove contents of rare eggs.
Remember that even though the egg white and yolk can be removed and the egg dried, the membrane just inside the shell is still susceptable to dermestids or other pests. If you add a bit of formalin inside while rincing the egg, it will prevent this.

A bit of useless trivia. The Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology in California has the largest egg collection in the world totalling over 180,000 sets of eggs (well over a million individual eggs). They could give you much more information if the above is insufficient.

There is the possibility of leaving an egg whole, as in Ukranian Easter Eggs. I am sure a web search would provide info on this technique.

Most are illegal to posses

This response submitted by Nancy M. on 11/17/01. ( )

If they are from a wild bird, they are generally illegal to own unless you have a permit to have them. Just be aware.
I have used the method of injecting air with great success on eggs down to the size of canary eggs. You inject UP into the egg so that the contents are forced down and out around the needle. Go slow!

Nancy M.


This response submitted by chase on 11/22/01. ( )

If it's like a phesant egg that you get from a breeder and the egg is still fresh.I take it and shake the egg up to break the yolk and scramble everything inside.Then I take a small hand drill with a very small bit and drill into the egg on both sides then start blwoing on one side and out comes the egg on the other.I've never tried it before but I've heard people talk about in jecting plaster inside the egg to help keep it from crushing.I don't know how well it would work never tried it.Hope this helps.Chase

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