What should we make of this? One of the joys and excitement of science, is realizing how little we know and how much there is to learn. This is certainly one of these instances. Yesterday there were many conversations at BioDiversity Research Institute about the bird’s behavior. In addition I spoke with Charlie Todd of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and wildlife. Our conclusion was that we didn’t know exactly what was going on.
We know that the birds are strongly attached to the nest site, copulating, and that generally birds will lay eggs 3-5 days after mating. We also know that renesting is rare, but the behavior we have seen does indicate pre-laying behavior. The next week will be very telling.
A couple things you can help us with.
Have you observed the birds on the nest at night?
Have you observed the birds looking like they are laying an egg? (please watch this video captured by a viewer of what I believe was the second egg being laid: http://media.putfile.com/Maine-Mar-8-07-2nd-egg).
Have you observed the birds bringing in nesting material?
Have you witnessed anything unusual?
Here is a link to a couple of stories about the birds today.
Wing Goodale, BioDiversity Research Institute