Unlike most passerines in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere (e.g.
Britain), most Australian passerines usually lay only 2 or 3 eggs in a nest
at any one time (rarely 1 or 4 eggs). If lucky, this may result in 1 or 2
birds fledging successfully from a single clutch. Under favourable
environmental conditions, there may be more than one nesting attempt within
a single breeding season, otherwise there is usually just one nesting
attempt. This in an adaptation to surviving in unpredictable climatic
conditions, particularly in semi-arid and arid parts of Australia.
Therefore, there is a risk of egg collecting impacting significantly on the
status of local populations (even if it one egg taken from each nest),
especially if that population is a small one.
Egg collecting can also signal to other potential (natural)predators of the
whereabouts of a nest. Thus, the taking of one egg could inadvertently cause
predators to take the remaining one(s).
Dr Stephen Ambrose
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