Tuesday, March 9, 2010

When will the eggs arrive?

"When will the eggs come?" is the question now on all hawkwatchers' minds.

John Blakeman has been watching the haggards' activity on the nest via the Ustream camera feed, and offers us these comments:

"I note that a number of posters are wondering when the eggs will be laid. Who knows? But from what I saw today, it's not likely to be right away, perhaps in a few days or so. (But again, who knows? I'm often fooled by these birds.)

Here's one thing that viewers can watch for. The formel, when the big egg really starts to form and descend down her one fallopian tube (mammals have two of these; birds have one, so that they don't have to fly around with un-used extra weight), the hawk will take on a somewhat stiff and concerned "look." She will not be as active and will just sit there for long periods, looking a bit dazed.

And if I had a fallopian tube with a descending mass commensurately as big as the hawk's egg, I'd be dazed, too.

Then, she'll sit down in the nest and get ready. The laying of the egg can't been seen. It just comes out, without much effort. But she'll get up a bit later, turn around, look at it, and then sit back down. That's probably when we'll see that the first egg has been laid.

But serious incubation won't start yet. That happens when the formel knows she's laid the last one. Then, it's serious incubation time. Keep those eggs warm and rotated. She will now sink lower into the nest, and jostle herself back forth, getting the new eggs tucked right up to her naked brood patch, a bare area under the chest feathers. That will keep them warm.

The fun then begins for all of us. Here's awatchin'."

–John Blakeman

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