Well, 27 days after the clutch was completed the hatching date is imminent. A range of 29-32 days is normal for incubation, though 28-33 is possible, so tomorrow would be the earliest potential date we could see the eggs hatch. Both adults are continuing to take turns on the eggs, the male showing little sign of the reduction in duties that the literature suggests.
He became very animated at one point this morning, calling repeatedly, as in the picture above. I rushed across my building to see if a large raptor was moving overhead but there was nothing in sight, at least not to my eyes! Shortly after this he came off the eggs but remained on the edge of the platform, and then hopped onto the perching post, where he couldn’t be seen but his calls could still be heard.
Apparently, eggs can be left unincubated for up to a couple of hours in good spring weather conditions, which answers one of the questions someone asked after the eggs were left uncovered for 20 minutes the other day. This time, however, it was only a few minutes until the female arrived to take over and showed they continue to turn the eggs, which perhaps indicates that they are not quite ready to hatch just yet.
Once the chicks are ready to hatch, they can start to cheep at least 48 hours before they actually emerge, so it’s worth having the volume up on the webcam! In response to this and to movement of the chicks within the shell the female can become much more agitated and aggressive at the nest, so it’s also worth keeping watch for any changes in behaviour in the adults that may be the first signs of hatching. Exciting times ahead, but for now the routine of incubation continues, with good protection from tonight’s light rain being offered, looking as if it’s the male that’s providing it.