When I checked the eggs in the East nest this evening two of them were pipped, that is, broken slightly by the duckling inside. This occurs 24 to 48 hours before they hatch. Since it might have started earlier today my guess is that they will hatch tomorrow … for some definition of “tomorrow”: maybe during the day, maybe overnight tomorrow. This means that jump day is either Sunday or Monday morning. The young ducklings need about 20 hours in the nest box before they’re strong enough to go.
The first couple of eggs were put into the nest weeks before she started to incubate, perhaps by another duck. The hen occupying the nest laid only four or maybe five (typically it’s about a dozen) and when she started incubation there were 7. There are now 9 eggs in the nest but two of them didn’t show up until a week after she started incubating, again this is most likely due to some other duck putting eggs into this nest box. (For more about this odd behavior, see this section of my Ducks Info page.)
So I don’t know how many will hatch: at least two, maybe five, or more? In any case this will be an atypically small family of wood ducks.
Sometimes, and it’s somewhat likely this this time, a duckling will hatch many hours after the others and is not developed enough to leave when the rest go off with the hen (and never return). (Here is a page of information about late ducklings.) The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota will take orphaned ducklings although they will not take unhatched eggs.
As usual I’ll add an outside camera so that you can watch them leave the nest from both inside and outside the nest box. When that camera is online, it will be shown as is the current inside camera on the new multi-camera page that is linked at birdsgv.com
Other nest boxes:
We have not seen any activity in the other two nest boxes, West and South, since the ducklings left from those on May 19th. Sometimes we have had a second nesting where two families use the same nest box, but not this year. Once the East nest has jumped the ducks will be all done for this year. However I still have a couple of things to post: I have two new videos in-progress and will provide those soon.
The 9 eggs in the east nest when the hen left for supper this evening. She had time to cover them but chose to leave them exposed. It’s hot outside and they will stay warm enough without the usual down blanket cover.