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.
Food shortages and sibling rivalry were observed this year. You can read a fuller account of the observations at: https://www.virginiaospreyfestival.org/post/catch-as-catch-can-not-enough-food
Or go to The Virginia Osprey Festival at Colonial Beach, then go to the Festival and then to the Ospert blog section.
If you are in Virginia or the Colonial Beach area of Virginia and have noticed similar problems or no problems, please send me an email to discuss the observations. email@example.com
This is the first year that the first born dominant chick -Jackie- (born 2 days before the others) has pecked on the other 2 chicks- Manny & Moe. Manny & Moe fledged and hunted well before Jackie. Jackie stayed in the nest and cried forever. She even stole fish that her siblings brought to the nest. Jackie did not leave until September 14. Manny & Moe were gone by August 22.
Usually, when the osprey arrive in Placid Bay there is a "Battle for the Bay" between eagles and ospreys that lasts a few days to a week. This year the eagles are not only staying over the bay and in the trees, but they are attacking osprey and making them drop their fish. There are 5 osprey nests visible in our small bay. Has anyone else noticed this change in behavior? We assume that either the eagle and osprey populations have reached maximum density in our area and/or fish are scarce. The immature eagles seem to be the most combative.
Every expectant mother needs a stuffed animal! If you look to the left of the osprey you will see a stuffed tiger. Our neighbors' dogs each have one and drag them outside to play with them. This tiger was brought to the nest on March 30. The female just ignores it.