1995 Ospreys attempted to build a nest on the A frame of our boat. We placed a platform on a piling and the birds accepted it. When we put a shed on the dock the birds abandoned the nest and attempted to build their nest on a different piling. We moved the platform to a different piling and the birds accepted it. For several years the birds successfully fledged several chicks. In the last four years they have not raised any chicks to maturity. We believe that mortality has also taken a toll of the adults and that neither of the original pair now claim the nest. There has been no break in the yearly attempt to use the nest. Birds return late February or early March. We are hoping that this year the nest will be chosen for chick banding or a bird cam. Electric is available.
Look for 2 adults on the nest. The adult pair will show pair bonding behaviors such as vocalizations, aerial sky dances, and the male feeding the female fish. You may see the pair copulating, which typically begins 14 days before laying eggs.
Females will lay 1 - 4 eggs at a rate of one egg every 1 - 2 days. After laying, incubation starts. Look for adults taking turns sitting low in the nest incubating eggs. The incubation period can last 35 - 43 days.
Chicks hatch ~39 days after incubation begins. Look for adults bringing food to the nest and making "head bows" into the center. Chicks typically can't be seen until they are 2 - 3 weeks old, so feeding behavior is the only way to know chicks are there.
Around 4 weeks after hatching, look for the heads of chicks to show over the rim of the nest, particularly when adults bring food to the nest. Other times they lie flat and are harder to see. Count the number of chicks in the nest before they learn to fly
Chicks begin flying around 7 - 8 weeks old, and are still fed by the adults. Count the number of chicks who have successfully fledged the nest and are observed flying.
Chick Last Observed
4 - 10 weeks after fledging, chicks begin leaving the nest area to migrate south, once they have learned to fly and feed themselves. Record the date that the last chick left the nest.
Look for signs of nest failure like adult abandonment, adults no longer incubating eggs or feeding young.
Assumed that ospreys had eggs. Repeated visits from a barking dog on the dock may have scared them off and predators got the eggs. Adult ospreys roosted on the nest all summer. Appeared to be a relaxed, experienced pair that we hope will return next season.
The nest is too high to see eggs or very young chicks. Dates for these two events are only approximate. Incubation behavior was noted followed by what appeared to be protection or feeding of young. We think that the young probably died during a three day rain and cold event. Both adult ospreys were very wet and probably cold. There were many crows in the area suggesting predation or clean up of the dead young.
Last month there was a young osprey that visited the nest many evenings. Perhaps due to overcrowding in its own nest?
This year the pair nested and faithfully appeared to incubate eggs. Following a three day rain event sometime in early June they stopped incubating. We don't know if it was the cold and wet exposure or crows that brought about the abrupt end - both were much in evidence at the time. Two other nests within out view have successfully raised three ospreys. The adults continued to use the nest until sometime in the last 10 days.
As of yesterday, 7/27, Oswald the hatchling had not fledged. About a week ago I called a bird rehabilitator and was told that fledging is late this year after late spring arrivals. Was also told that there are many distressed ospreys due to a shortage of fish - presumably menhaden. Hope to be able to report flrdging within the next day or two.
We were away until mid March so did not observe osprey arrival. Nest was being repaired when we arrived home. Late May female appeared to be sitting and tending eggs. We were gone all of June and returned 7/3 to one hatchling. Currently watching to see it fly. Parents are attentive but absent from the nest most of the day. Hatchling is not concerned when we walk out on the dock and stands up to watch. Parents are concerned!
Junior Sprey is still with us - and looks like a fine healthy bird. Has lost the brown chest markings of the very young bird but I really have no idea if Sprey is male or female. Seems to have outgrown some of the earlier anxious behavior and will now stay in his tree perch when we go outside. Tolerates the company of gulls and terns on the dock but drives off cormorants in a hurry!
Won't be long before he is on his way south. Hope he has a long and healthy life.
Male osprey with yellow eyes still present on the nest - usually in the morning and sometimes evening. Presumed to be this year's chick. Parents probably left about one week ago. 8/2 chick was absent for about three days and we thought it was dead. Especially, as the parents(?) spent a lot of time on the nest. Possibly it was a parent and the chick saying goodby. Now that there is only one osprey it is less vocal and skittish, possibly because it is now able to feed itself. I didn't know that the eyes changed colour in the first season. The wings still retain some faint buff colour at the feather edges.
Fledgling and at least one parent still present. Young one and a parent are usually on the nest for breakfast. Rest of the day baby prefers to perch in one of three dead trees on the property - does a lot of screeching any time we go outside.
Bird fledged about 5 days ago. With the grandchildren here I lost track of the days! Parents are very attentive. Young one may be a female as the chest has very brown markings like the female markings, but maybe all juveniles have those spots. Buffy brown ruff on back of neck. White spots in wings easily seen. Flying well and landing more securely in trees and back on the nest. Seems to feed only in the nest. When we swim from the dock the birds move into a nearby pine to watch.
Remaining chick seems to be OK. Not as vigorous as I would expect, but I believe it was the runt and initially quite a bit smaller than the two that have not survived. Parents still very attentive. Earlier we watched a commercial fisherman stun a croaker taken from his crab pound and toss it to the Osprey! Junior pecked at it for dinner! He is still mostly fed by the parents.
6/11 I suspected there were only two chicks on the nest. By evening I was sure there were only two. 6/12 I began to suspect there was only one chick and by evening was sure there was only one. I don't know what happens to the bodies of the dead chicks. I suspect that at one month the chicks were too big to be kept warm and dry during the recent bad weather, and they died of exposure.
At last a warm, sunny day to help dry out the nest and birds. During the last week I have noticed that the parents are not always on the nest which is to be expected. Downside is that I now only see two nestlings on the nest, not sure when the third one disappeared (if it did). But cold and rainy weather may have taken a toll. Next day or two should show for sure. So glad I managed to get a photo showing three youngsters.
There are definitely 3 nestlings. Feeding them takes awhile. Poor adult ospreys they will be very tired and worn before this is over! They continue very attentive and calm. One of them is always on the nest. Some times two, in spite of the crowded conditions...
Finally have a sunny, rain free day and Suzanne has been sitting on the edge of the nest allowing me to see 2 little osprey heads! Weather forecast is good all week so hope to see the little heads again in the next day or two. She remained quite calm, and on the edge of the nest, when I approach to within18ft but babies were peeped out of sight!
5/14/13 Obvious change in behavior. Harry very attentive and spending lots of time on or near the nest. Suzanne ducking her head under her body and moving carefully.
5/16/13 Suzanne allowed me to stand on the dock opposite the nest. But she did get quite agitated when a cormorant flew too close.It is 90º. She is standing up, perhaps to cool her nest?
Dinner at 4:30 PM. A repeat of last week. Scoffed down her fish in record time, including the tail, picked at her talons, rinse them off in the river and returned to the nest. Harry hung around for awhile. Laughing Gulls, Forster's Terns and Royal Terns are often resting on adjacent dock pilings. Expecting chicks to hatch any day ...
Yesterday, I watched Suzanne sitting on a piling eating fish, even the tail was gobbled down. Finished, she cleaned off her talons, rinsed them by skimming over the water, and immediately returned to the nest and booted Harry on his way. Both birds look in excellent condition and are diligent protectors of their nest and egg(s).
We continue to enjoy watching this extremely competent osprey pair.
Two years ago we added additional upright braces to the nesting platform to help hold in the nest during severe weather. Consequently the nest is deep and all that shows is the white head of the sitting parent. There is always at least one osprey present. In past years activity on the dock, or circling boats, has disturbed the birds and allowed predators to get the eggs. This year the pair appears to feel very secure and we can approach to within about 18ft without their showing any signs of agitation. However, we are not allowing our dogs on the dock as we suspect that last year this may have contributed to the nest failure.
This morning, I watched Suzanne settle slowly into the nest. Lots of leg movement, head dipping and feather rustling, sinking lower and lower until only a white head was visible. There she remained all day until my husband walked out to check his oyster bags. Immediately, and with a great deal of noise, Harry flew onto the nest. One of them left. I wasn't watching closely enough to see exactly which one remained and was standing up eating dinner.
But then she turned around and I could see her necklace. Also Harry came back on the nest and is definitely smaller.
I'm assuming there is an egg, maybe several. Clearly a competent couple but there are many potential hazards in the next several weeks.