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Question for any lurking ornithologists out there: What do the parents of
altricial birds commonly do with the eggshells of young after hatching?
Welty (1975 [second edition, p. 332]: page 332) says that "Once the young
have freed themselves [from the eggs], the parents either eat the shells or
carry them some distance from the nest, where they will not reveal its
location to predators." Does anybody know of a more recent, or perhaps more
authoritative, source for information about what is done with hatched eggs?
This might have some relevance as to whether the presence of busted egg
shell fragments in hadrosaur nests can be cited as evidence for altricial
behavior in these dinosaurs. I have heard, too, that in some species of
ground-nesting precocial birds the hatched eggs are pushed from the nest, and
the eggs get trampled by adults and juveniles wandering around the colony.
Some of the eggshell pieces may be returned to the nest to feed the young.
Anybody know where I can get summary information about this kind of stuff?