The patterns of colony attendance of male and female Common guillemots, relative to calendar date and relative to the female's laying date during the three weeks prior to egg laying, are presented. The probability of a male being at the colony was consistently higher than that for females. Male attendance peaked in the three days before his mate laid: female attendance was lowest at this time. Examination of the yolk showed that the egg was formed over 14–15 days, with yolk deposition (of first eggs) taking 11–5 days, and a lag period (between the end of yolk deposition and laying) of 3–4 days. Yolk deposition occurred over a shorter period (9–3 days) in replacement eggs, and followed a different pattern from first eggs.