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.
Watched this morning as the female was feeding one or more hatchlings. Couldn't see the hatchling (s) but did observe the careful feeding behavior of Mom while Dad watched closely from the perch. Pics to follow.
This morning, all 3 fledglings were calling to be fed. Appears 2 female fledglings and one male. The 2 females were on the nest and the male was on a nearby utility pole. At one point, both female fledges took off and chased each other around - it seemed like a fight for dominance. When the fish arrived, one female got it and the other looked not too happy. Pic uploaded. I believe DAD delivered the bunker.
The male from the other nest on Hazen has been without a mate there since his arrival. Today, I observed him in this nest with the un-paired female. They were preening and mating. He left and came back with a large piece of rope for nesting material. I think we have a new couple in this nest now. Male has a silver federal band that ends in "086." Glad to see they mated and seem to have a good bond.
7/16/19 Early morning check on the 3 chicks and 2 parents. All present and accounted for. Pic uploaded in which the MOM and 3 chicks are all seen. Dad had just departed for a nearby perch. Cant stick around to watch the aviating today. It won't be long before they are all fledged! :-)
Big day as #1 of 3 chicks took his first flight today! He sat at the top of one of the power poles by the track from early morning until almost noontime until Dad buzzed him and coaxed him back to the nest. At one point he left and came back to this particular perch. Wow! First flight! 2 pics uploaded. One of chick #2 getting ready to fly and the second is DAD buzzing #1 at the top of the pole. Both parents wanted him back in the nest and were calling and buzzing. Amazing.
3 big juveniles spotted today, very actively flying around the area and alternately landing on Dad's perch at the nest just west of their natal nest. Did not see either adult today, but didn't have much time to observe. All look healthy.
This morning, all 3 chicks were flying sorties around the local area and returning to the nest. Male was in his usual spot on the perch of the nest next door which has no base so is not occupied. Female was on a nearby telephone pole. Male left and came back with a fish that he kept entirely to himself. Chicks looked like they were eating when I arrived this morning. So we have 3 fledglings here - what a success this year!
I watched with joy and amazement this morning as one of the three nestlings took flight on two separate sorties. First one was happening as I arrived in the area, and the Fledgie landed on the east perch. Second flight that I observed was a nice takeoff followed by a low pass over the trees (a little too low) and then a climbing counterclockwise circle around the nest for 2 full circuits, then approached and landed on the east perch. The other two were motivated to do some jumping and hovering of their own, but did not fly yet. Male was observing from a perch about 50 yards north. Wow. Pictures uploaded of the flights.
Morning after the big storm on 7/21 overnight to 7/22. I got lucky as the male had just arrived with breakfast. Mom and 3 large nestlings present and accounted for. Despite the wind and drizzle this morning, once again the largest nestling was getting some airtime - hovering about 2 feet above the nest. Picture uploaded of DAD doing a fish flyby. I observed the male bringing the fish to his post while it flopped around. A few minutes later he started preparing the fish and went back to deliver it to the waiting hungry family.
3 Large and getting larger - chicks are still on the nest today. Mom standing by and Dad perched on an old nest about 50 yards away that does not have a floor anymore. I observed one nestling that got about 2-3 feet above the nest in a hover while practicing. The others took turns flapping as well. Pictures uploaded.
This morning during a heavy thunderstorm I was in the area and stopped by to see how they were doing in the storm. 3 very large and healthy nestlings were doing some serious wing exercising while Mom watched from a perch. Male not seen in the area. All three were flapping vigorously, with one observed to leave the nest to about perhaps a foot above then hovered and touched back down in the nest. Photos uploaded.