before dawn this morning, June briefly left the nest to allow this dimly
lit picture of her talking eggs. It's now been almost 48 hours since
the first egg started to peep and the only visual evidence of activity is
the crack that can be seen in the egg on the left. This is undoubtedly the
source of the loud
peeping, while the much dimmer peeping (between the last two loud
peeps) is probably coming from the egg
on the right. The process that allows the eggs to talk before they hatch
is known as pipping (not peeping). It occurs when the unhatched owlet's
beak breaks through a membrane into a small pocket of air inside the egg.
At this point, only June -- and my very sensitive microphone -- know that
the egg is alive. This allows her to inform Ward so that he can step up
his hunting activity and make any other necessary preparations. The most
amazing thing about this process is that the second egg appears to be
"responding" to the first, so that even though there are long
intervals of silence, the weaker peeping almost always follows the
stronger peeping. It even repeats the same pattern to a large extent. An
occasional overlap reveals that it is indeed coming from a second
should be removing the first shell soon, but she is the only expert that
could predict when it will be ready.
A special thanks to an OwlCam fan in Great Britain for making me aware of this pipping phenomena, and providing a recording of a Tawny Owl egg making a similar sound before hatching..
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