Our Osprey pair has now completed nearly four weeks of incubation and our observations have shown the eggs to have been very well tended by both birds.
Time spent off the eggs has been minimal, the morning change overs are completed with almost military precision now, so food delivery tends to be the only time the eggs are uncovered, this is only for very short spells and the male is quick to take up his incubating duties.
As the weeks have passed the male Osprey has increased the length of time he spends on the eggs at each changeover; our observations showed he accounted for 20% of the incubation in the first two weeks but we saw this figure rise to nearer 30% by weeks three and four, this is around the average for Ospreys with some males doing more and some doing a lot less.
The excitement is mounting in anticipation of the first hatchling of the season and as the incubation term nears completion we can expect to see some changing behavioural traits from the birds; as the chicks begin to develop inside the eggs we can expect to see the female look inquisitively at and ‘listen’ to the clutch, perhaps hearing the chicks begin to chip their way into the world.
The picture below shows the female taking a ‘comfort’ break during the night; she will move to the nest edge to defecate (keeping the nest area clean) and have a wing flap/stretch before carefully returning to the nest bowl to incubate.
A picture of the male returning at first light on Friday 11th 04.34 am, the female can be seen rising from the eggs ready to allow her mate his turn on incubation duties.
Douglas Thomson Species protection officer