Why Do Birds Kill Their Babies

Birds are some of the most loyal parents in the animal kingdom, so why would they kill their own babies? The answer isn’t as simple as you think. While it seems unimaginable that any animal would harm their young, parents have been observed doing this across many different species, including eagles, owls, pigeons, and even duck-billed platypuses! Read on to learn about why birds kill their babies, and what this behavior says about evolution and bird physiology.

Lack of Food:

The majority of birds that are known to kill their young are actually doing so out of necessity rather than malice. It’s a heartbreaking and difficult situation, but when faced with limited resources, birds may kill their babies in order to survive.

One of the primary causes of birds killing their babies is a lack of food or a poor food supply. In times of food scarcity, birds can be forced to make difficult decisions when it comes to providing for their young. The parents may end up choosing to feed only one chick instead of two, or they may even go so far as to abandon their entire clutch.

In addition, the parents may also kill their own young in order to conserve energy. By killing the weakest chicks, the parents can free up resources that could be better used on their strongest chicks. This ensures that the strongest and most capable chicks will survive, and it also allows the parents to focus on providing for those that have the best chance of survival.

Ultimately, birds killing their young is an unfortunate and heartbreaking consequence of nature. While we cannot fully understand why this behavior occurs, it is important to recognize that it is a natural part of life.

Lack of Nesting Materials:

It’s a sad truth, but birds sometimes kill their babies. While this may seem harsh, there are actually reasons why birds may resort to killing their young. One of the most common reasons is a lack of nesting materials.

When birds build nests, they rely on materials like twigs, grasses, and feathers to construct their homes. If these materials aren’t available, they may be unable to provide adequate protection for their eggs or chicks. This can lead to the eggs being exposed to weather and predators, leaving the parents with no choice but to abandon them or, in some cases, destroy them.

In addition, if a bird’s nest is too crowded with eggs or chicks, the parents may kill some of the young in order to ensure that the remaining babies have enough food and space to survive.


Finally, if a bird senses that its young are unhealthy or deformed, it may kill them in an effort to protect the rest of the clutch from potential disease or defects.

While it’s heartbreaking to think about birds killing their babies, it’s important to remember that these actions often stem from a lack of resources or a desperate attempt to ensure the survival of the rest of the brood.

Incubation Problems:

It is important to note that birds killing their own babies is not a behavior that is intentional. In fact, it is more likely that the bird is unintentionally killing its own babies due to incubation problems. Incubation problems can include poor timing, inadequate temperatures, and lack of food for the parent bird.

Timing plays a major role in determining whether a bird will successfully incubate and hatch its eggs. If a bird begins incubating too early or too late, the chances of successfully hatching eggs are greatly reduced. The temperature of the environment also plays an important role in whether eggs will hatch. If temperatures are too high or too low, the eggs may fail to develop properly.

Finally, a lack of food can cause the parent bird to kill its own babies. The extra energy and nutrients needed to incubate eggs can drain the parent bird, leaving it unable to provide enough nourishment to its offspring. As a result, the birds may decide to abandon their eggs or, in some cases, even kill them.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much that can be done to prevent birds from killing their own young due to incubation problems. However, providing birdhouses and food sources may help birds stay healthy and better equipped to incubate and care for their young.

Infertile Eggs

It is believed that birds may kill their own young if the eggs they lay are infertile. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetic issues, improper nutrition, or a lack of a suitable nesting site. Infertile eggs will not hatch, and the parent birds may attempt to destroy them in order to conserve energy for their more viable eggs. Additionally, the parents may remove the infertile eggs from their nest to prevent competition for food from non-viable chicks. While it is difficult to determine why a bird chooses to kill its own babies, it is likely that it is an evolutionary response to ensure the survival of the remaining eggs and chicks.

Inclement Weather

When the conditions outside become especially harsh – such as a heavy rainstorm or a cold winter season – birds may not be able to keep their chicks warm and dry enough for them to survive. In these cases, the parent birds may resort to killing their young to protect them from an otherwise certain death. While this is a heartbreaking decision to make, it is thought to be nature’s way of ensuring the survival of the species by weeding out weak individuals that are unlikely to survive in extreme conditions.

Additionally, birds may kill their chicks if they feel that the environment cannot sustain them, either due to a lack of food or shelter. In some cases, birds may even engage in infanticide if they feel that they have too many chicks to take care of. In these scenarios, birds will usually only target one or two chicks, sacrificing them in order to ensure that the remaining chicks are strong enough to survive and carry on the species.

Ultimately, it is important to remember that while inclement weather can lead to a parent bird killing its young, this behavior is rarely seen in healthy populations. When given the right resources and a safe environment, birds will usually take great care of their young and nurture them until they can fend for themselves.


The reasons why birds kill their babies are complex and not fully understood. It could be due to any combination of factors, such as competition for resources, overcrowding, lack of food, or environmental stress. Whatever the reason, it is important to remember that this behavior is natural and common among many species of birds. With the right understanding and precautions, we can create an environment that allows birds to raise their offspring successfully.


What are some possible evolutionary explanations for why birds do this?

Birds have a variety of mating rituals. Some of these rituals include the male chasing the female, and some include the male and female having an elaborate dance. The reason why birds do this is that they are trying to find a mate that will produce offspring with the best genes so that their genes will be passed on to their children.

Some possible evolutionary explanations for why birds do this are that they are trying to find a mate that will produce offspring with the best genes so that their genes will be passed on to their children.

Do more birds kill their babies in the spring or summer?

Many people have tried to answer this question and still have not come up with a definitive answer. It is difficult to say whether more birds kill their babies in the spring or summer, but we do know that there are some patterns.

Some researchers think that the number of birds killing their young increases during spring because the birds are trying to make room for new offspring. Others argue that it is just as likely in summer because it is easier for predators to find nests during these months.

Why do birds kill their babies?

The article “Why do birds kill their babies?” by David L. Wolman explores the question of why there are so many bird-killing events in nature. The author states that this is an evolutionary strategy for survival, as it provides a way for a mother to protect her nestlings from predators and starvation.

One example given is the case of the American Kestrel, which kills its offspring if it has too many mouths to feed. This is because there are not enough resources to support them all. In many cases, when a predator attacks one nestling, it will kill all the other ones as well because they cannot defend themselves from an attack.

Is it possible to save a baby bird from its parents?

The answer to the question posed in the title is a resounding no! It is not possible to save a baby bird from its parents. This is because baby birds are completely dependent on their parents for food, warmth, and protection.

In most cases, the best thing you can do for a baby bird that has fallen from its nest is to keep it warm and call it animal control. Animal control will then reunite the bird with its parents or care for it until it can be released into the wild.

What is the most common reason for baby bird death?

The most common reason for baby bird death is being attacked by a predator. The second most common reason for baby bird death is starvation.

Julian Goldie - Owner of ChiperBirds.com

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.