Q: How many eggs do Ospreys lay?
A: Two or three is the usual number of eggs for an established breeding pair of Ospreys. Rarely four eggs are laid, although these may not all hatch, nor all survive to fledging.
The eggs are laid individually one to three days apart, though they have been up to 6 days.
Q: How big are the eggs?
A: Surprisingly, osprey eggs are only the size of a large hens or duck egg.
Each of the eggs is unique and is a combination of off-white to pinkish or buff background, with mottled dark brown or reddish splotches. Some eggs have a uniform mottled appearance while some can have more of this reddish brown colouration at one end.
Q: How long do they incubate for?
A: The general rule is 5 to 6 weeks (35-42 days), the average being 37 to 39 days.
Q: Is it normal for the male to incubate the eggs?
A: Yes, but we are very lucky and very glad he is showing such interest as he is a young father. In general both ospreys will tend to the eggs safety, although the female always does the majority of the incubation. In some pairs males never incubate the eggs, and in other pairs males will incubate for an hour or more whilst the female has a break to fly, toilet and eat. The male is the sole food supplier once the eggs are laid.
Q: Could our female still lay two or three more eggs this season?
A: Yes, we hope so. She has a pretty reliable record of laying three eggs and we hope she equals this. If Wednesday night’s odd behaviour was indeed a ‘phantom’ or failed egg, then we will probably only get one more, but we can hope!
Q: I have noticed the female looks a little threadbare and is preening a lot- is this a sign she ahs mites or a skin problem?
A: Well spotted, yes she is a little ragged, but this is completely normal: female ospreys take the opportunity of breeding season to undergo their annual feather moult. As they are sitting around a lot and don’t have to do a lot of flying or fishing, it is a good time to replace and re-grow important feathers so she is in peak condition before autumn migration. By contrast, males we think tend to moult in winter, or in a more staggered way, and right now they need to be in tip top form to provide for a family.
Last a great photo by Ross Forsyth from yesterday, of our male showing off his incredible fishing skills:
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Q: How many eggs do Ospreys lay? A: Two or three is the usual number of eggs for an established breeding pair of Ospreys. Rarely four eggs are laid, although these …