The breeding season of migratory populations occurs in the spring and summer, with egg laying in April and May. Two to four eggs are laid over a period of several days, each 1 to 2 days apart. Both the male and female incubate the eggs, which hatch after approximately 40 days. Because incubation starts when the first egg is laid, the eggs hatch asynchronously in the order in which they were laid. Chicks that hatch first are larger and have a competitive advantage over those that are hatch later. If food becomes scarce, the smaller chicks are less successful in competing for food, and often die. This decrease in the number of chicks in the nest makes food more available to the surviving chicks, and increases their likelihood of survival. This process, common in raptors, is called brood reduction.