Richmond Falcon Cam

Friday, May 29, 2009

Third Egg

This morning Falcon Cam viewers were intrigued by glimpses of what appeared to be a third egg. After watching throughout the day we have finally been able to get a clear view of the third egg.

Whether or not this will be the final egg of the clutch remains to be seen. Although a typical clutch contains four eggs, this pair did lose an egg only a few days before nesting here on May 24th. Once the second egg was laid on May 27th we saw incubation begin, especially during the cooler evening and early morning hours.

Both the male and female will incubate the eggs, although the female generally assumes the majority of this duty. The birds develop brood patches, featherless areas on their breast that become highly vascularized, carrying the parent's warm blood close to surface of their skin. This allows the adults to more efficiently transfer body heat to the eggs. The female's brood patch will be more developed then the male's. Incubation will not be constant as the parents need only maintain the eggs at an optimum temperature. With the relatively warm weather (Today = high 85 deg - low 62 deg) this is less of a challenge for this late renest.