Because eggs of marine birds may be exposed to oil adhering to the feathers of adult birds, a study was undertaken to determine the effects of oil contamination. Two hundred common eider eggs were divided into four experimental sets of 50 each. Two sets were treated with No. 2 fuel oil in amounts of 5 microliters to 20 microliters; a third with 20 microliters of propylene glycol, a neutral blocking agent. The fourth set served as a control. Hatching success was 96 percent for the eggs treated with 20 microliters propylene glycol, 96 percent for the controls and 92 percent for the eggs treated with 5 microliters oil hatched. Only 69 percent of the eggs treated with 20 microliters of oil survived - a significant reduction in hatchability (P 0.05). Mean Hatching weights for all sets were statistically equal. Thus, oil pollution may significantly increase embryonic mortality in marine birds.