Osprey Diary 26th May

The wait goes on………no osprey hatching yet, but as you will see on the webcam, it is rather hard to see the eggs condition in any detail just now because on Saturday evening the male bird put a great big lump of moss right at the front of the nest obscuring our view! We are of course concerned  and share everyone’s frustration, hopes and fears. Here’s our answers to the most commonly asked questions over the last few days on ospreys@swt.org.uk

Q: Are the eggs still there?

A: Yes both eggs are still present in the nest , just obscured at the moment.

Q: Will they still hatch?

A: We don’t honestly know, but we hope at least one will. By now egg number one is well overdue, egg number two is also at 40 days ( upper end of the normal range) but egg number three is only at 37 days of incubation tonight. This means all our hopes now really rest with this last egg realistically.

Q: When will you give up hope?

A: If we do not have  any hatching by the end of this week, it will be highly unlikely to happen and we will have to accept it has not been a successful breading year on this nest.

Q: What will you do if they don’t hatch?

A: We will continue nest protection watch until the female naturally gives up incubating  and then remove the eggs under licence and study them for clues. In 2011 this took 70 days.

Q: Are the eggs infertile and or have they been damaged by being left exposed for so long or by the crows ?

A: We don’t know- all these are possible. However, over the last two years, the unhatched eggs were mostly found to be infertile (most likely due to our females advanced age) rather than damaged.

Q: I have heard of eggs being left alone for hours and still hatching- is 90 minutes ( on Sunday night) long enough to be a problem?

A: This all depends on the weather at the time and the stage of development inside the egg. We have heard of osprey eggs near hatching exposed for many hours and still going on to hatch but this was in warm weather.

Q: Why didn’t the female take over incubation when the male left the eggs? She seems less dedicated and more distracted this year.
A: She most likely did not realise he wasn’t at his ‘post’ so to speak, as she was away eating and having some time to herself.  We have noticed she is spending a bit more time away from the nest this year but we don’t have a firm explanation- its a bit of a mystery why. If we do get a chick hatch though, I am sure we will see her usual skilled and dedicated instinctive parenting.

Q: Why is the male leaving the eggs so often?

A: The male is instinctively programmed to chase, defend and provide- he doesn’t have as strong an attachment to incubation as the female. We therefore can’t really blame him for following his instinct and wandering off to chase predators or go fishing. This is why in most osprey pairings the female does far more of the incubation!

Q: Why haven’t you told us where Blue YD is now?

A: We are still waiting for the latest satellite data to be available. The tag has moved onto a pre-programmed four day cycle on the 22nd of May, so the next data  batch is due today- we keep checking and will let you know as soon as we have it.

Ranger Emma


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The wait goes on………no osprey hatching yet, but as you will see on the webcam, it is rather hard to see the eggs condition in any detail just now because …

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