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.
This tower is abandoned. It is thought that the pair moved across the river to the same electric power lines but on the PA side and is nesting at tower # 7408, Red Cliff Village, right along route 32. That nest in PA (#7408) has 2 healthy chicks in 2022.
This site has been abandoned by the birds. Directly across the Delaware River, on the next high tension tower, in the same line, there is a nest which I believe is occupied by the pair from the NJ tower. They moved.
The photos show the NJ tower on the same line as the Red Cliff Village, PA nest. You can see a few sticks remain on the top of this tower where the nest once was.
I checked again and took photos of this empty tower. No nesting here this year, even though a few sticks remain on the top of the tower where a nesting pair built in 2017. No nesting on the PA equivalent tower either this year. (See nest #7408--Red Cliff Village--this 2017 NJ pair could possibly have moved to the tower across the river in PA in 2019. The pair there had 2 chicks in 2019. I did not watch in 2018).
While checking known nests in this area, I stopped on the PA side and through my scope, looked at the tower on the NJ side. It is still empty; no evidence of nest building even though the pair have also abandoned the nest on the equivalent tower on the PA side.
A path through the woods led directly to the tower on the NJ side of the Delaware River. There was nothing on that tower, not even a stick or two of an old nest. This nest is on the PA side of the river. The tower sits right on the road along side a driveway in a resident's front lawn. Not a NJ nest.