As well as investigating bird carcasses, we are interested in the eggs of birds of prey and selected fish-eating species. Licensed egg collectors send addled and deserted eggs that they would normally collect as part of their studies and activites to the PBMS.
*Please note it is against the law to interfere with bird nests and remove an egg without a licence.* If you are licenced and would like to submit bird of prey eggs to the PBMS please phone 01524 595830 or contact us.
We need eggs because some types of contaminants, such as mercury, can affect the development of the embryo in a bird’s egg. Often it is the concentration of these contaminants within the egg that determines whether any harm is caused to the embryo.
We have measured concentrations of contaminants in golden eagle, merlin and gannet eggs. This is a useful addition to our data because we do not receive enough carcasses of golden eagles and merlins each year to enable us to carry out statistical analysis, while we use eggs from gannets as a sentinel for the marine environment. Using eggs allows the PBMS to track exposure to contaminants in these species over the years and identify changes in long term trends.