Quakie takes a break of about 10 minutes two to three times a day from sitting on her eggs to bathe, eat and groom herself. If the weather had been warmer, she could have taken a longer break. However it’s been around 10-15 deg C in the day and eggs will cool down pretty fast if she’s not on them. She provides the necessary warmth and moisture for her eggs to incubate, and regularly (about 1 x per hour) uses her bill to rotate the eggs and move them around her nest so that they get evenly warmed under her brood patch. This is a patch of bare skin on her chest – extra warm and direct heat for the eggs.
21 Apr: On her lunch break: Quakie takes a short break to bathe and eat then flies back to her nest. This video shows her rooting around a bit in the pond. As you can see she is getting into the nest much more gracefully than she did a few weeks ago! It is close to the end of the incubation period and although she has covered her eggs very carefully with straw and down feathers, she is anxious to return to the nest quickly so they don’t get too cold.
23 Apr: This is the first meal/bath break Quakie is taking from her nesting duties today. It is about 11am in the morning. Frankie on the pond deck (upper right in video frame) as Quakie eats from the food tray – he is too afraid of me to come closer.
23 Apr: This is Quakie’s 2nd meal/bath break today. She likes to forage a little around the pond for insects and plant matter before getting out to eat the grains we give her. Although there is water in her tray of mixed grains, she seems to enjoy having another dish of water nearby to wash her bill in.
It is about 6.30pm and she has been sitting on her eggs since her last break about 8 hours ago. She has been incubating her eggs for about 27 days now. They are not pipped yet (i.e. when the duckling has broken a hole through the shell) and I believe the cold temperatures have delayed the hatch.