Broken Egg in Decorah
We’re sorry to let everyone know that one of the eggs at N2B has broken. It was stuck to Mom’s feathers when she exited the nest for shift change this morning. The contents were still fluid, which means that the egg wasn’t frozen, and the egg was one of the older/browner eggs. Eggs become stained as they are rolled in the nest, which, until all the eggs have picked up roughly the same amount of color, means that older eggs tend to appear browner or darker. Based on what we saw during shift change, we think this might have been the first egg.
Watchers might find this video upsetting: https://youtu.be/5BYtEoTutvc.
What happened? We don’t believe either eagle punctured it, but other than that, we don’t know for sure. The first egg was laid between two very large snowstorms, and Mom and DM2 did not have a chance to get the egg cup as thickly padded as they usually do. It may have been rolled against a hard stick and cracked. It could have cracked today, but it also could have developed a tiny crack early on that finally split as the egg was rolled and incubated by Mom and DM2.
As hard as it is to see, it might be for the better in the long run – especially if this was, as we suspect, the first egg. We heard from a lot of followers who were concerned about the eight-day spread between the first and last egg. Sibling aggression isn’t unknown at the Decorah nest and a difference of eight days would have resulted in a large size and weight discrepancy between the oldest and youngest eagles. The youngest eaglet would have had a very hard time defending itself against its much larger sibling. If these two eggs make it to hatch, we’ll have a more equitable age spread in the nest. We’ll also be curious to see when they hatch, since that could help determine which egg this was.
Is this the first year we’ll only have two eaglets to watch? No. In 2016 only two eggs hatched and in 2008, Mom’s first year, she laid just two eggs.
We have our talons crossed, we’re happy for warmer, brighter weather, we’re trusting the eagles, and we’re looking forward to the remaining two eggs hatching! The first eaglet to hatch will be D32.