The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Eating a sparrow egg

Song sparrow nestOne of our resident song sparrows hasn't been having a good year.  It seems like every time she builds a nest and fills it with eggs, I accidentally impact it while gardening, then the mother bird abandons her offspring.

As much as we'd like to allow her to hatch some chicks, Mark pointed out that there's no reason to let abandoned sparrow eggs go to waste.  So when the third nest came out with some raspberry primocanes, I decided to add the sole egg to our lunch. 

I boiled the sparrow egg up while cooking sweet corn, let the egg cool slightly, then shelled it out and put the tiny morsel on top of our Swiss chard.  The egg was nearly entirely yolk and tasted delicious...perhaps because of the garlic butter it soaked up.

Granted, sparrow eggs will remain in our survival-food category despite the flavor.  After all, it would take about a dozen of them to make one chicken egg, and who wants to negatively impact the local song-bird population?  But if I find more abandoned nests around, I'll definitely cook up the bounty.

The Avian Aqua Miser is a POOP-free chicken waterer enjoyed by poultry around the world.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I know what you did was good and you were trying to not let things go to waste, but I wouldn't post that on the web. Sparrows, their nests and their eggs are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Comment by Channing Thu Jul 25 11:26:12 2013
Channing --- Hmm, I don't think that would be relevant since Song Sparrows aren't migratory.
Comment by anna Thu Jul 25 11:33:56 2013

Melospiza melodia is the song sparrow. They are. Here is the list.

It is silly I know. There seems to be unlimited #s of those things, but they are protected.

Comment by Channing Thu Jul 25 11:56:41 2013
The song sparrow is actually listed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as a migratory bird protected by the treaty. I personally don't care that you ate the egg, but just thought you might like to know for future reference. If you go to you can find a list of all the birds listed as migratory including all the various sparrows.
Comment by Virginia Thu Jul 25 12:40:29 2013
Channing and Virginia --- Looks like you're both right! It sounds like they must migrate somewhere even if they're year-round residents here. I guess we won't be eating any more eggs. :-)
Comment by anna Thu Jul 25 12:48:37 2013

I wonder if someone will tell you, with the way the law reads, its okay to 'eat the egg but not the bird' I wouldn't know, just wondering.

Comment by john Thu Jul 25 21:37:06 2013
Unless and except as permitted by regulations made as hereinafter provided in this subchapter, it shall be unlawful at any time, by any means or in any manner, to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, attempt to take, capture, or kill, possess, offer for sale, sell, offer to barter, barter, offer to purchase, purchase, deliver for shipment, ship, export, import, cause to be shipped, exported, or imported, deliver for transportation, transport or cause to be transported, carry or cause to be carried, or receive for shipment, transportation, carriage, or export, any migratory bird, any part, nest, or egg of any such bird, or any product, whether or not manufactured, which consists, or is composed in whole or part, of any such bird or any part, nest, or egg thereof, included in the terms of the conventions between the United States and Great Britain for the protection of migratory birds
Comment by Channing Fri Jul 26 18:26:49 2013

However, non-native birds (and a few others) are NOT protected by the treaty which has been cited above.

This means that you can eat all the eggs of English Sparrows(Passer domesticus) and Starlings. English sparrows are perhaps the most damaging bird ever imported to the US, and they should be be shot or otherwise eliminated at every opportunity. If eating their eggs appeals to you, please be my guest!

Comment by Paul Mon Jun 1 15:38:37 2020

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