Imagine our surprise when John went to Elise’s mew this evening and she was looking particularly satisfied with herself. She rose up from her nest of sticks in her jumpbox and began “cheeping”. His eyes flew wide with shock as she revealed an egg. A gorgeous egg to behold. Slightly speckled brown on the wide end, and a lovely pale blue-green.
Now we knew she was being very broody this spring. She even landed on the head of a volunteer in order to express her disatisfaction with having a stranger in her personal space. But we did not expect this from a 23 yr old Matron! Her last egg, according to records, was laid in 2008. Her history with eggs has not shown her best qualities as a mother, she has generally ignored them once laid. But she is very maternalistic with the recent production.
We would like to give her a substitute plastic egg filled with sand, and pull this unfertile egg. We will blow it clean and keep it as an educational prop.
In the photo, note how she has tucked her talons under her leg to protect the egg. Raptors are exceedingly careful when walking in the nest in order to protect the eggs from being stepped on.
Update: Thursday, April 12th, 2012. Elise has laid yet another egg. She is very proud of herself and her eggs.
Update: Sunday April 14, 2012. We have a count of three lovely eggs. Elise will defend her space actively if she thinks it is being threatened. Thank goodness John and Maggie are allowed in to clean and feed!