Second Egg

The second egg was laid yesterday afternoon (June 26). So this is all we would expect the female to lay. Three egg loon clutches are a real rarity. We probably don’t get a report of a three egg nest more often than once every ten years.
The second egg was laid about two and a half days later than the first egg. This is a long span for New Hampshire loons. Conventional wisdom says it’s usually about 24 hours between eggs. The difference in timing might be related to the nutritional state of the female. It takes a fair amount of protein and fat to produce a loon egg.
In terms of hatching, a 24 hour difference gives the first chick a slight advantage in competing for the food that the parents bring (see the June 22nd “We Have a Second Chick” post below for more discussion). But just because the eggs were laid 2+ days apart doesn’t necessarily mean they hatch that far apart. You may have noticed that for the first day or so the pair sat on the first egg frequently and regularly but not constantly. That could be enough to keep the egg viable but slow down development.
But the proof is in the pudding. It will be interesting to follow the timing of the hatches. Fingers crossed.