Every so often she stood up and stretched, allowing the camera viewers to do a quick count, but only two eggs each time.
At around 10:00 AM there was a changing of the guard and the tiercel settled in on the eggs.
He does not have the staying power of the formel, and soon got restless and started to preen.
He stood up, climbed to the front of the nest and appeared to be looking for his mate.
She was nowhere in sight, so he stepped back into the nest bowl and rolled the eggs
Finally the formel returned, settled back onto the eggs...
... and now seemed ready to lay that third egg.
Right around 11:30 AM, she appeared to rise up a little, looked tense and uncomfortable, and over the course of the next few minutes looked as if she might be laying her egg.
At this point, the camera watchers were in a frenzy waiting for her to move to the side a little to see if there were indeed a third egg. But she sat right back down, and there followed a most frustrating hour when she would stand, stretch and move, but never enough to allow a clear confirmation of the third egg.
We needed dad to fly back in with food or an offer to spell her on the eggs, and finally he did. She stood up and slowly moved, and tantalizingly the eggs came into view... one... two ...
... and then the glorious moment...THREE!
Mom wasted no time and was outta there after her arduous morning, leaving dad to inspect the latest addition to his family...
... and then get them covered up.
The formel eventually returned, ready to resume her nesting responsibilities, but the tiercel was not about to give up his spot.
He stolidly sat there as if he did not notice her looming over him!
Finally, he got up and we saw those gorgeous eggs again.
He took off, and left her gazing down at the eggs, perhaps with her three years' previous experience realizing that she was now about to settle in for the long haul of incubation.
She moved down to cover them up...
... and this final view of her early this afternoon is almost a mirror image of where she was first thing this morning, but now with three eggs safely underneath her.
There has been much speculation from Franklin Institute hawk fans about whether there could be a fourth egg, given this pair's experience and the incredibly mild winter.
Here's John Blakeman's take on that question: