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Fake eggs on demand

posted 30 May 2015 at 08:48:15

A recent study into what causes birds to reject eggs has been carried out with the help of yours truly, 3D printing. You’re most probably familiar with the parasitic behaviour of European cuckoos, which lay their eggs in the nests of other birds. North American cowbirds also trick their hosts into rearing their chicks at the expense of their own brood. Instead of painstakingly crafting fake eggs from plaster or wood, the scientists simply 3D printed fake cowbird eggs in various sizes and shapes. Then the eggs were painted (blue for a robin’s egg and white for a cowbird’s egg) and popped into wild robins’ nests. The study found that blue 3D printed eggs consistently fooled the robins, while the white eggs were rejected. Their conclusion was that it’s not so much the size and shape that matter, but the colour. Using 3D printers was a valuable tool, helping to make this research more precise and reliable.  
To read the study, go to:  

 Image: © Ana Lopez