Saturday, 18 May 2013

Lapwing "over-eggs" the situation!

Lapwing's nest with 6 eggs
I was recently sent this photo by one of the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust’s (GWCT) research scientists. He had found this Lapwing’s nest in upper Teesdale and commented “Over the years I have probably found 2,500 Lapwing nests, of which only two had contained 5 eggs (4 being the norm) and this is the first ever with 6!” He goes on to say that the likelihood is that all the eggs are from the same female as the patterns on each of the eggs are very similar. The pattern of blotches and spots marking each egg are fairly unique to each bird and can vary a lot.
It is not unheard of that other birds will lay their eggs in nests that are not their own, Pheasants are particularly likely to do this, sometimes resulting in very large numbers of eggs in one nest. They are also not necessarily fussy that it should be another Pheasant's nest that they choose – a Partridge's nest for instance will do!!
The hen Lapwing that laid these 6 eggs may well find that she cannot keep all of the eggs warm as really 4 is the most she can cover properly, so it may well be that not all of these will hatch.

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