Life at the Loch of the Lowes continues as normal and yet there is a sense of anticipation in the air. Today marks day 35 of egg incubation for our pair of breeding ospreys. Incubation normally lasts 35-42 days for ospreys (37 being average) so if all goes well we might have the first chick hatching in the next few days!
There are a couple of clues to look out for as hatching gets closer. One sign is the incubating female ‘listening’ to her eggs. She will look down to the nest underneath her as she is incubating, tilting her head to hear the chicks as they move and call inside their shells.
Another sign is small movements from the eggs. Regular viewers on the webcam should keep a careful watch whenever the eggs are visible, so they might catch a glimpse of them rocking around slightly as the chicks begin to turn inside their shells. We have yet to see any of these behaviours but we will be keeping a careful watch over the next few days!
When it is time to hatch the young chick will break through the shell with a small and sharp temporary ‘tooth’ on its beak. Tiny holes and cracks will appear until eventually the chick can break free of the shell. The female will be very careful to attend to the first chick after it has hatched, while keeping the other eggs warm.
Keep a close watch on the webcam over the next few days and you might be lucky enough to see the hatching!
Jane Hamilton – Species Protection Officer