HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. – One of Derek and Savannah’s eggs hatched on Saturday at the Carolina Raptor Center.
The egg began hatching early Saturday morning and could be seen moving around by the afternoon.
There is one egg left to hatch, which can happen anytime now.
One of the three eggs was not viable, so Derek moved it to a grassy area last Sunday afternoon and ate it since it won’t hatch. This is natural behavior for eagles.
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The first egg landed in the nest on New Year's Day, and a second egg came at 2 p.m. Friday, January 4.
A second egg is usually laid about a few days after the first, giving what will then be the first chick hatched a decided advantage over the second chick in size and maturity. The same scenario goes for the third egg.
It's unclear which of the three eggs was not viable.
The incubation period for eagle eggs is about 33 to 35 days. This is about average among birds of prey that range from about 24 days for the smallest birds to 54 days for the largest birds. The work of incubation is mostly done by the female, but the male eagle will spell the female for short stints for her to eat and stretch her legs. Derek has been observed feeding Savannah as she sits on the nest.
The parents must bond to the eggs for incubation to continue. Disturbance by humans may cause the birds to abandon the eggs, so contact is kept to a minimum during this period. This is one of the reasons that the eagle aviary was closed on January 1.
You will notice that the nest has been covered by a tarp in order to protect eaglets from the sun. Because of the warm weather in 2012, the resident bird care staff at Carolina Raptor Center made the decision to build the structure in the off season.