The Pip Watch is On!

June 18, 2021

Yesterday the Loon Cam watchers noticed frequent antsy movements by the incubating loon, as well as more attention to inspecting and turning the eggs. That’s a good indication that the embryo in egg number 1 is close to full development and moving around, getting ready to position itself for hatching.

The next sign of an imminent hatch will be the pip. A pip is the first tiny hole in the egg that a chick makes as it begins to peck its way out. When the adult is turning the eggs, look at the blunt end of the egg for evidence of a pip. Sometimes a small chip of eggshell will be knocked off before the membrane is punctured. So if you see a bright white spot with crisp and irregular edges on the blunt end of the egg, you can count that as a pip.

If you turn the volume up high you might hear peeps coming from the egg even before the pip is made. The microphone for the loon cam is mounted on the raft, above the nest and is more than sensitive enough to pick up peeps from a chick still inside the egg.

How long does it take a loon chick to finish pecking its way out of an egg? The record long time on previous years of the loon cam is 19.5 hours for the 2019 Loon Cam 2 nest. The chick takes a lot of breaks so don’t get worried if you’re expecting a chick to pop up at any moment.