HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. -- They may not have the first baby of 2013, but Savannah and Derek Eagle laid the first egg of 2013 in the eagle aviary at Carolina Raptor Center late in the afternoon on New Year’s Day – footage from the WCNC EagleCam confirmed on Wednesday. Happy New Year to EagleCam watchers everywhere!
This is the earliest that Savannah has laid an egg in her history of nesting at Carolina Raptor Center. First eggs were laid on or around January 27, 2006; January 19, 2007; January 28, 2008; January 25, 2009; January 4, 2010, January 28, 2011, and January 18, 2012. A second egg is usually laid about two to three days after the first, giving what will then be the first chick hatched a decided advantage over the second chick in size and maturity.
(Click here for more images of Savannah and the egg.)
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.
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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.
Follow Savannah Eagle on the WCNC EagleCam http://www.wcnc.com/news/local/eagle-cam, on Facebook: www.facebook.com/SavannahEagle, and Twitter (@Savannah_Eagle) this season.