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.
8:50 a.m. Sometime during the last 8 days, the pair of chicks fledged. On 7/25 they were wing-flapping vigorously but without hovering or flying off so on that day, I did not think they had fledged.
Today, only the parent was perched on the nearby tower and the nest was empty. The chicks were off flying somewhere.
9:10 a.m. Mom and the two chicks were on the nest, eating. The chicks were self feeding and Mom was having some of the prey as well. I heard a lot of vocals, mostly from Mom and also from Dad who was perched above the nest on the perch stick. I saw three large birds (not vultures!) circling high above the field and I expect the vocals were "keep your distance" warnings by the adults at this nest. I also wonder if these three probable ospreys were from the very nearby Narrows nest. It could have been the fledglings from that nest. Before I could get a close look at these 3 with my scope, they flew away. I could not tell with binoculars, if they were ospreys but I believe they were. Dad then flew to a perch on the nearby adjacent tower.
9:15 a.m. Mom flew off toward the river, but was gone less than a minute carrying a nice fish! She was back for only a couple minutes but then left again at 9:17. Dad was on the nearby perch and the chicks, alone on the nest, kept self-feeding. This was the situation when I left. I did not see the female return, the chicks were eating, and the male was standing guard.
I saw the two from this Phillips Farm nest wing flapping but not leaving the nest so I doubt they have taken first flights yet.
8:20 a.m. As I watched today, the two big chicks were doing a lot of wing-flapping, but were not flying off the nest. I expect they have not fledged yet, but they appear to be ready to do so any day now. Based on my age estimate of 3+ weeks ago, they would be about 8 weeks old. Mom was on the post above watching them.
3:00 p.m. Mom was perched on the post above the nest. The two big chicks were sitting side by side on the nest. I am glad to see that this nest is back to being productive! There is still monofilament hanging down below this nest platform!
I hope to contact Marc Phillips this winter about getting a bucket truck in to clean out the nest.
10:45 a.m. From the upper driveway, I saw the female sitting up high on the nest. The sun is on the nest and is quite hot. The chicks were down and hidden. 10:57 Mom calls. 11:00 Two big chicks sit up and begin moving around. They appear to be at least 4-5 weeks old.
10:50 a.m. Both parents were on the nest eating and feeding two nestlings! At 10:52 a.m. the male flew up to the pole above the nest while the female continued to feed the nestlings who seemed a week or two younger than the three nestlings on the neighboring Narrows nest.
4:50 p.m. One adult was perched on the pole above the nest. I could't see its breast, so I could't tell if it was the male or if it had a small amount of brown on it I would have known it was the female. I couldn't see any sign of any nestlings. I moved down to field level, but saw even less there. When I moved back up to higher ground, I shot a video which shows
ed the movement through the rails of a tiny chick. I expect the adult perched above the nest was the mother. I am very happy about confirming at least one nestling. This is one of my favorite nests and pairs and they have had a couple of rough years, first losing a fledgling tragically to hanging from monofilament in the nest, and then a complete failure to produce chicks last year.
12:18 p.m. The adults were on the nest. The female in this pair doesn't have a very dark, brown "necklace" so it was difficult to tell which was which. I believe though, that the female flew off and the male was picking around in the bottom of the nest and seemed to be eating leftovers. I noticed the mate (probably the female, but I could not tell for sure) on the adjacent tower. I couldn't tell if there were nestlings in the nest. I drove from up on the high ground by the porta-john and the building, down to field level and noticed both were back on the nest. They seemed to be arranging and picking around in the bottom of the nest.
9:45 a.m. The female was sitting low on the nest, presumably incubating. The male was standing in the nest next to her. It was good to see this pair incubating. This is a favorite nest/pair of mine! The male was vocalizing quietly the entire time I watched. The monofilament that entangled their chick in 2020 is still hanging from the corner of the platform! At 9:50, the male flew off toward the Delaware River, probably to bring a fish back to his mate.
2:30 p.m. When I arrived, there was one adult on the nest which turned out was the female. Then I spotted a second adult flying from north to south across the farm field. It perched on a single tree in the field. Soon after, the female, which had been on the nest flew to the same tree and perched there. After a few minutes, the female which had been on the nest when I arrived, flew back to the nest. In the photo of both birds in the tree, the female is the one on the right. It is nice to see this pair is back and apparently preparing to have eggs. In 2020, they were very early--the first nest I watched to incubate. And the chick that was killed getting entangled in plastic monofilament string during the storm on August 4, had been fledged for three weeks.
2:15 p.m. There was no sign of any osprey activity here. This is a favorite nest of mine so it is sad that they failed to have nestlings last year and lost a fledgling to plastic trash the year before. The monofilament is still hanging below this platform. The material that the farm uses as mulch is also woven plastic which could be collected and brought to osprey nests to the detriment of the nestlings. I need to get permission from Marc Phillips to get a bucket truck in to clean out this nest.
11:50 a.m. No sign of any osprey. There was a huge, tall weed growing up in the nest a sure sign that no birds have been occupying the nest recently. That no doubt means there were no chicks. I wonder if the fish the male removed from the nest and then ate was meant for his off-spring? I also wonder if the soft calls of the female while he ate were also for the off-spring that either they never conceived or which did not survive. I hope for happier times next season.
12:15 p.m. Both adults were at the nest area. One which turned out to be the male, was on the nest, picking at the bottom, and the other on the close by tower. The male on the nest flew off with the remains of a fish and landed on the middle of the tower to the right of his mate. The female remained still, perched at the end of the tower making soft calls while the male was busy eating the fish for at least a half hour. I wonder what happened here? This pair should have big chicks by now. Were there eggs? Did they fail to hatch? Were there chicks who died? I suppose it is possible there are chicks who already fledged and were off somewhere else while I observed the parents.
This is one of the 4 original nests I watched before I took on all of the northwest Jersey nest counts. I really like this nest and its osprey family. It still makes me sad thinking about the awful death of last year's chick in the storm, Isaias, hanging upside down, its tarsus tangled in monofilament!
2:10 p.m. When I arrive at this nest I see an adult which appears to be the female, sitting on the nest. The entire time I watch, she doesn't move except to preen. It is a bit early to be incubating, but possible. Appallingly, though, the deadly monofilament with the tarsus bone and talons of the dead fledgling from last season is still hanging from the corner of the nest platform. It is a reminder of my failure to take action to clean out this nest. I must approach Mark Phillips for sure this next winter to obtain permission to come onto his field with a bucket truck. I feel I have let this osprey family down.
I went to check again on this nest. I want to retrieve the dead chick when it falls. It was still hanging, and will be there for a long time I fear, without intervention. Even sadder and more worrisome was the sibling which was still sitting on the nest and calling constantly. I can't believe this has continued for the week that has passed. Surely the sibling flew away. Surely the parents have been feeding and caring for their one living off-spring. As I was driving around the field to see if I could confirm without a doubt, that the trapped osprey was the second chick and not one of the adults, I thought I heard a parent calling from the trees. However, there are many ospreys in this area and another nest less than a quarter mile away. It could have been an adult from the other nest. The remaining chick called continuously.
I realize the more nests you watch, the more deaths you witness. Nature is harsh and the closer we look, the more difficult things we see. So this one chick joins the 50% of fledglings that don't make it to one year. There will be so many more seen and unseen.
I tried to reach out to Marc Phillips to obtain permission to access this nest. This is a huge truck farm and he is so busy in the peak of the season that he told me he is unable to meet with me now. I hope to meet him and obtain permission later on.
There are still large wads of monofilament hanging off the nest. I hope before next year's nesting season, we can clean out this nest. I also intend to put up posters to inform and warn fishermen about the risk of leaving plastic and monofilament trash on the river banks.
12:45 p.m. Yesterday, tropical storm Isaias roared through Central Jersey with wind gusts over 70mph, felling trees, and, I feared, blowing down nests. Today was a nice day so I went out to the Delaware to check on my two eagles' nests (which were fine/undamaged). Since this Phillips Farm nest stands very high and unprotected, unshielded from wind, I decided to also check on it. When I first arrived, even before I set up my scope, I could see one of the chicks on the nest. I was horrified and saddened to find the other chick hanging, dead, by one of its feet, trapped by the monofilament trash that had been brought into the nest. What a horrible death to just hang there trapped, unable to fly back to the nest which was so close. These two chicks were the first to fledge of any in the 26 nests I observed and were strong and competent fliers for almost a month. No doubt they sought to hunker down during the high winds and rain in their nest, where they had been fed and cared for all of their short lives and felt safe. Perhaps the wind blew the tangles around this chick so that when it decided to fly off or was blown off.....terrible! Human trash, especially plastic and monofilament, is such a curse to osprey who are inexplicably attracted by it and tend to "decorate" their nests with it, to the detriment of their off-spring and themselves. I have seen some plastic in this nest, which appeared to be single-use sacks. It wasn't until my last visit, on the 19th, that I photographed the deadly wad of monofilament which was sitting on the nest. My alarm bells did not go off loudly because the chicks were flying! Of course, even adults can get their feet tangled in this stuff. And, even if I had sought to remove it, how? This nest is 40-50 feet high so a very tall boom truck or fire hook and ladder truck would have to be engaged. That would require special permission from Marc Phillips.
The entire time I watched, stunned, the sibling called and called, but I did not see either parent. It was such a sad sight at what had become a favorite nest of mine!
After seeing this tragedy, I decide to check as many of the other nests as I had time to check to be sure there had been no further losses.
1:00 p.m. When I arrive I see both chicks have fledged, which doesn't surprise me! I had thought they might have even fledged on my last visit 10 days ago. Both fledglings were perched on a transmission tower next to the nest pole. #1 on the top and #2 lower down. After a few minutes #1 flies off the top and I don't see where it goes. However, its sibling remains perched half way down. All at once I hear very rapid, loud vocals from #2 which usually signals the arrival of a parent. Sure enough, a parent lands in the nest. It isn't long before the other parent flies overhead and they both take off toward the river. After a brief time, one of the parents (Mom I believe) brings something small to the nest and starts to eat her catch. The chick doesn't fly immediately to the nest but after a couple minutes it takes off, flies a large circle over and around the nest, and lands in the nest, pushes Mom aside and mantles the prey! Mom then flies to the top of the tower and fledgling #2 eats. This is the way I left the nest area, fledgling eating, Mom perched. #1 never returned for a share while I was there, nor did Dad.
5:35 p.m. Parent is on the perch above the nest (probably the female). Two big chicks are sitting side by side in the nest. Apparently both are well fed as they sit calmly. I stay for only 20 minutes as it is late. I am pleased to see they are growing and look healthy!
2:55 p.m. I believe this nest began incubating while the other two nearby were still nest building. Thus the chicks would be a week or so older. When I arrived today, the two chicks were sitting very high in the nest along with a parent. Their feathers looked very well developed. I watched for awhile from the top of the hill, parked on the farm road. After about 15 minutes, I noticed a farm pick up truck was coming toward me, and decided to move down to my usual viewing spot which is closer to the nest, but lower so the view is not as clear into the nest. As I drove closer, I noticed a bird fly off the nest, toward the river and the trees....it almost appeared to be one of the chicks! Could we have fledglings? When I set up my scope, the nest appeared empty. I can't confirm flight though because it could have been the adult and the eyases could be lying flattened in the nest to "hide" from my intrusion. I will have to revisit this nest soon to see if these chicks are fledged.
5:30 p.m. When I arrived, I saw the female standing on the nest and calling loudly and persistently, probably for a fish delivery! After I watched about 5 minutes, the male arrived with the requested "take out menu" and the two began to feed the two chicks. The male also rearranged something large and flat...it looked like garbage, not sticks or food! The light was not perfect and the chicks were mostly hidden behind the parents. They seem to be doing well.
1:45 p.m. The male is on the transmission tower near the nest tower. The female is busy "feeding the bottom of the nest" and soon I can see one little head. She is also eating some of the prey. I can definitely confirm two eyases. This nest is very high, so it is possible one is hiding! I notice in the videos I took, that there are a lot of flying insects around the nest. The female shakes her head to rid herself of the annoyance. I hope these aren't detrimental to the eyases.
9:40 a.m. The male returns to the nest with a fish. He seems to be eating the fish on the nest. The female is vocalizing the entire time the male eats. At 9:48 a.m. the female stands and begins to eat. When I left at 10 a.m. the female was still eating, the male was still on the nest. I believe at lest one of the eggs has hatched or at least there is a pip based on the parents both looking down and the fish being delivered.
8: 10 a.m. There are two trucks that come up the farm road past me, heading out toward the road, and I see that the mate has been perched behind where I am parked, on a tree at the edge of the road. It flushes when the trucks go by, and flies back to the nest.
8:10a.m. The mate lands on the north side of the nest, then it flaps its wings around the nest for a minute or so, then settles on the north side. The adult which has been sitting on the egg(s), stands and flies off over head, behind my car and perches in a tree along the farm road where it has a good view of the nest and the field.
12:15 p.m. There is one adult sitting on this nest. This is a very high, deep nest. This adult could be incubating.
12:15 p.m. The mate flies in. This appears to be an incubation exchange. The sitting bird stands and flies off. The mate, which has just arrived, arranges some sticks then wiggles down to sit in the nest bowl.
I observed this parent-offspring pair for 30 minutes. Neither moved, but the chick called regularly.
The last photo is an overview of the post/platform on which the nest is built, and the high tension tower on which the parent is perched. You can just make out the 2 birds as specks in the photo!
11:05 a.m. I am in the area observing the three NJ nests and one PA nest! Originally, (July 29--the first time I noticed this tower) this large, tall, obviously maintained nest appeared empty. I saw no chicks and no adults. Two days ago, I observed a single chick on this nest and posted photos.
Today I observed a single chick calling on the nest and this time I also saw an adult perched on a high tension tower near the nest. I am now thinking that this is, in fact, an active nest with one chick. I have posted photos of the baby and the adult from the north and the south.
When I observed this tower platform today around 1:30 p.m. a single chick was sitting in the nest. The first photo is taken from the same location that I took the photo on 7/29--a driveway to the south. I then followed another driveway to the north of this platform and was able to get a front view of the chick.
Nest #7407 is less than a quarter mile away. I saw only 2 of the 3 fledglings on that nest and wonder if this could possibly be the third?? I guess I would have to see a parent bringing prey to a lone osprey chick on this platform to know for sure whether it was occupied.