Osprey Q and A 26th May

Q: Why hasn’t the second egg hatched? Could it still hatch yet?

A: We don’t know why it hasn’t hatched yet. It could simply be a bit ‘late’ or could be an unfertilized ‘dud’ or have been damaged at some stage during incubation and the embryo inside didn’t survive. Sunday is the 40th day of incubation of this egg (usually considered the maximum) so unless it hatches soon, it probably won’t.

Q: What will happen to it if it doesn’t hatch?

A: In the past in this nest, unhatched eggs have been either ignored and left lying around until they are either buried in the nest, or broken by one of their siblings. Occasionally adult Ospreys remove unhatched eggs from the nest.

Q: If the second egg doesn’t hatch does this mean the third egg won’t too?

A: Not necessarily- it is quite possible that egg three is still viable and will hatch normally. Sunday is day 37 for this egg (the most common hatching day in this nest) but it could hatch anything up to Wednesday next week.

Q: If another egg does hatch now, won’t the first chick be much bigger and stronger and bully the other?

A: Yes the first chick will be at an advantage, but sibling rivalry on osprey nests is relatively mild, as long as there is enough food to go around, and osprey chicks don’t eat each other ( unlike barn owls etc). The older chick will of course fledge earlier than its sibling.

Q: Will this chick suffer if it’s an ‘only child’?

A: No, it will be fine, lavishly looked after by both parents and would probably be the best fed chick in Scotland!

Q: We noticed the female taking some fish from the males’ beak- is this normal behaviour for him to feed her?

A: This was a lovely moment to see, and is not unheard of, though it is normal for the female to feed herself. The last time I saw this behaviour was when our female osprey was ill in 2010 and her then mate Green 7Y tried to feed her.

Q: What are the chances her previous mate just gave up and went elsewhere to nest with another bird?

A: This is very unlikely, as Ospreys will always return to as successful nest site given the opportunity, and one years failure won’t deter them – they have long memories and attachments to nest sites. There have also not been any reports of him turning up at another know nest site in the UK so the most likely explanation I’m afraid is that he hasn’t made it.

Q: Are there any plans to tag/ ring the chicks this year?

A: Yes, we would like to put satellite tags on the chick or chicks (the funds for this research project were raised by volunteers and members a couple of years ago and we’ve been holding them until we get chicks). If possible, this would happen at around 6 weeks of age- we will be explaining a lot more about this closer to the time, but meanwhile, why not read up on ringing and satellite tracking under our FAQ’s ( see the tab at the top of this page) .

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Q: Why hasn’t the second egg hatched? Could it still hatch yet? A: We don’t know why it hasn’t hatched yet. It could simply be a bit ‘late’ or could be …

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