20 July 2023
What is wrong with this picture?
Yesterday evening I popped up the ladder to check on the nest for any signs of progress. I was hoping that the female may have already left for her usual evening stretch and toilet break . . . but she was still in the nest lying up against the inside wall. Behind her was a single egg – totally exposed and uncovered!
When I checked again this morning, she was sitting in the middle of the box – with the egg behind her, still uncovered.
Unlike the Egyptian Geese that also use the nest box, Spotted Eagle-Owls always start incubation as soon as the first egg is laid (the geese only start incubating once the clutch is complete). For the female to leave the egg(s) uncovered for long periods – longer at least than for her short breaks away from the nest in the evenings, is completely strange and could result in the egg chilling and the embryo inside dying. Does the female possibly ‘know’ that there is something wrong with this egg?
By Geoff Lockwood