The male is pulling 20+ hour nest sitting shifts lately; certainly not unheard of for this pair but normally it occurs later in the nesting phase or it is attributable to oppressive conditions, such as black fly infestations or heat waves. With the exception of one short hot spell, nesting conditions this year have been quite tolerable. Perhaps it’s the female’s old age that makes her reluctant to incubate, or maybe it’s her innate disposition. Two years ago she was AWOL for two complete days while the eggs were hatching, apparently not even on the lake. We looked for her.

But the male has always shown a steadfast commitment to hatching the eggs. If he can solo babysit two newly hatched chicks for over 48 hours, he can handle a 20 hour nest sitting shift.