Is an egg hatching? When mom stood-up a little after 7:00 pm on Sunday afternoon, it appeared that one of the eggs (the one closest to the camera) had a series of cracks around its circumference. It could also have been shadow or distortions from the resolution of the camera. However they are due, so maybe the big moment has arrived. The chick will first break into an air chamber located at the tip of the egg and take its first real breaths. After that it will puncture the shell with its beak in a process known as "pipping." It will then slowly....very slowly....work its way around the circumference of the egg, repeatedly piercing the shell with its beak until it can break free. Remember that this chick has only been in existence for 3o some odd days and this is a lot of work!
To the "very curious" kids at Westridge 3/4, the parents do sometimes help the chick emerge, but mostly they just keep it warm and let it do the work itself. The reason is that hatching is a very fragile process. The chick is still connected to the egg membrane and the chicks blood it flowing through the membrane., As it makes tiny punctures, the blood supply is slowly cut off. However of a parent (or a human in the case of captive rearing) gets involved, it is very easy to accidental puncture a blood vessel and cause the chick to bleed to death.
For those who are worried about the late hatch, remember that predicting hatch is not an exact science. There are many factors that can delay hatch including cold weather and gaps in incubation. The eggs are still well within the normal range.
See for yourselves if you think the front egg is hatching. This picture was taken at 7:15 on Sunday night.