Hatch Time Draws Near

Our Loon Cam 2 pair has so far had an uneventful incubation process. These two loons just don’t seem to present the non-stop drama of the Loon Cam 1 pair. But that’s good for us; we don’t need the stress of anxiety. And it’s good for the loons; they can concentrate on taking care of the eggs.

Now that the eggs are barely more than a week away from hatching, let’s see if we can nail down the hatch times. We only have two years of to-the-minute data that we can use but they are in close agreement. If the loons hold true to form, we should be able to accurately predict hatch times within a few hours. Incubation periods for egg 1 average 27 days and 13.5 hours. That would put this year’s first egg hatch at 5:30 AM on Thursday, July 9. Egg 2 is a little tougher to predict because only one egg hatched and the timing suggested it was egg 1. So, going by the one known incubation period for egg 2, we would expect the second egg to hatch around midnight (12:00 AM, July 10).

Taken together, these two loon pairs have a very similar and consistent egg-laying-incubation-hatch record. The two eggs are laid about 60 hours apart, on average. Incubation is very sporadic until the second egg is laid. The time from laying to hatch is about 27.5 days +/-10 hours for the first egg and a little over 25.5 days for the second egg. The result is that the eggs hatch about 1 day apart. Because this year the first egg was laid late in the day (June 11) and the second was laid early in the day (June 14), there’s a slight chance they will both hatch on July 9, one predawn and one well after dark.