Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Getting Close...

Now that we are nearing the home stretch of incubation, may viewers are getting excited (as am I). We estimate that incubation began after the 3rd egg was laid on March 24th, roughly calculated out, hatching should begin sometime around April 26th. As we get closer to the end of the 33 day waiting period I wanted to review some different clues in the adults behaviors to watch for to help tell when hatch is close.

A day or so prior to hatching the chicks will begin vocalizing from inside the egg and pecking to work their way out. The adult birds can hear the chirping and feel the vibrations from the egg causing their behavior to change. During the majority of the incubation phase the adults have set tightly on the eggs. Now you will begin to see the incubation bird will appear restless, it will get up and look down at the eggs more often, settle back down, and be up again looking again within a short amount of time.

Eggs can hatch at any time of the day or night. The process will start with a pip-- a small hole pecked through the shell from the inside by the chick using it's "egg tooth". It will take time and energy for the new chick to peck it's way out of the shell. Don't be surprised if you see Durand eating the egg shells. This is one way for her to replenish calcium in her body that was lost from her system when she initially produced the eggs.

After hatching the chicks will need to be kept warm so the adults will brood the hatchlings most of the time, especially if temperatures in Columbus are still cool like they are this week. This may look similar to incubation but they will actually be sitting up higher and may hold their wings out from their bodies more than we saw during incubation. Remember that during incubation the adults were sitting on still, smooth "rocks". Now they will hopefully be sitting on multiple wiggly, squirmy fidgety chicks. This will make a big difference in how the adults act and careful viewers will notice this.