New eggs laid: off to a much better start than 2021
You might recall that 2021 was not a good year overall for many bird species. In the whole country, out of 10 couples monitored by the project, only 3 eggs were laid overall, and our cutting-edge captive breeding laboratory only hosted a single egg laid by a wild Lanner. The mother had been presumably attacked by a Peregrine falcon, its much more aggressive conspecific, and laid her egg while in the care of CRUMA Livorno. Sadly, that chick never hatched due to a delay in its development. You can read the whole story in our article from last April.
Today we have much happier news. The same number of eggs was laid by just one couple, and excitingly enough by one of those kept at Lake Vico Natural Reserve: Gea and Atlante!
Yesterday, we removed the eggs from the nest and put them safely in the incubator. The couple was given 3 dummy eggs, and as soon as the replacement was done, Gea immediately resumed incubation.
Next steps to verify embryo health
For now, the eggs are safe and warm in their incubator, where we monitor them constantly. In a few days, we’ll check whether they are healthy and developing correctly. This will be done by candling, the traditional method to verify the state of the embryo inside the shell. Egg shell is quite translucent, and placing a light source behind it makes many critical information visibile. Candling shows otherwise inconspicuous cracks, which could allow bacterial infection, a potentially lethal threat. This technique is not harmful to the egg, as long as its temperature is not altered during operations. This is not a risk in our case, but it used to be with the light source most commonly used in the past: candlelight (hence the name).
We are going to check whether Gea and Atlante’s eggs are all fertile, and if the chicks are at a normal size for their development stage, and post updates here soon!