Speculation is running high over the dates of the next big event in our osprey calendar, and more and more of our visitors are asking us “when are the eggs going to hatch?” So, we thought we would take the matter under investigation and see if we could come up with our own set of predictions.
Osprey eggs normally hatch in the same order as they are laid. It takes about 35-37 days for the chicks to emerge, but cases have been recorded of up to 43 days. The range of our pair here at Loch of the Lowes goes from just under 35 days (their second egg in 2016) to nearly 39 days (their first egg in 2017). Each year their first egg has taken relatively longer to hatch (an average of 37.5 days) with the second and third taking 1-2 days less.
How well the parent birds carry out their incubation duties is likely to influence hatch dates. Fortunately, this is the fourth season that the pair here at Loch of the Lowes have been breeding together and it shows in their coordinated coverage of the nest.
So, taking all that into account, we are predicting that the first egg will hatch on the 21st of May in the morning, the second on the 22nd of May in the morning and the third on the 25th of May in the afternoon.
Keep an eye on our webcam to see if we get it right or even better come along to the centre and catch a bit of the excitement first hand.
Paul – Species Protection Officer
Did you know…?
Shells of osprey eggs can be used to tell if it is the same female that has returned to breed at a nest. The colour and pattern are similar for the same bird year-to-year but differ from those of other females.