I have had a report back from Bob McGowan , Senior Curator, Birds
National Museums Scotland about our two unhatched Osprey eggs which were removed from the nest under license on the 2nd July. We asked for them to be analyzed to see what went wrong with them, and it turns out that they may not have been fertilised at all. Neither egg had any sign of an embryo inside and certainly not a chick ready to hatch, despite the fact that many of us were convinced we saw a tiny hole and movement in one around hatching time.
Mr McGowan said:
“The two eggs were rotten/addled with no sign of any development. I wonder if the prolonged wet weather might have been a factor in bacterial degradation (but I’m just speculating).”
So why were the eggs not viable? We may never know exactly, but it is possible that either our male or female may have lower fertility, or it may be just very bad luck, I am told this is not unusual in Osprey nests, and that we shouldn’t worry unless it happens several years in a row.
As at many raptor nests in the UK this year second and third chicks have not survived due to the prolonger wet and cold weather and subsequent food shortages, perhaps it has been a blessing in disguise that we only had one viable egg this year. The resultant chick’s odds of survival have definitely been higher with all the food and attention to himself .