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.
10:00 a.m. From the dirt access road, a bit later: The two chicks were still self-feeding. The second chick had part of the prey. The mother was still off the nest somewhere. I still couldn't see the third chick and no doubt I would have seen it if it weren't "lost."
9:15 a.m. From the shoulder of route 80, I saw one chick which was close to the north edge of the nest. I could also see just the top of the head of the second chick moving in the background. The first chick was calling persistently. At 9:20 a.m. it began picking at apparent leftovers in the bottom of the nest. This chick is female as she has a brown "necklace". The mother was perched on a post and had a full crop. The second chick got up and stretched its big wings. It approached its sibling, watched, and apparently wanted some of the prey. Then it walked to the south side and only its head showed. At 9:30 a.m. Mom flew off the tower. At 9:35 #1 still ate and #2 was still watching its sibling eat. I haven't seen the third chick since July 6.
12:25 p.m. From the access road I could see two of the three chicks sitting up tall. I did not see either adult nor the third chick. They appear to have advanced plumage and it seems like they will fledge soon. I had to leave after only 20 minutes, but returned at 2:45. At that time Mom was on the tower along with the two big chicks. The chicks were self-feeding. I am afraid that the third chick must have died or been lost. I am hoping that I am wrong, but these chicks are large enough that I don't think it could have been hiding on the other side of the nest. That said, I could not see the 2 big chicks from route 80. I have a video taken on June 29 that clearly shows three chicks.
11:44 a.m. From the dirt access road, I saw two of the three chicks sitting up high with huge crops. The third was behind the sibling at the right. I could only see part of the head but could tell it was a third chick since it was moving separately.
At 12:35 p.m. I passed by on route 80 but could only see the adult from there.
10:00 a.m. I made my way to the service access road to the tower off of Mt. Herman Road. The dirt road had a tree partially fallen over it near the entrance, but previous drivers (cell company trucks?) had driven to the right creating a new dirt "road." The road itself was more upgrown and rougher than I remembered it. But, from this road, I got a good view of the adult. I watched until I could confirm there were three chicks in this nest!! I got photos and videos of the three. The lighting was not as good as earlier. The smoke from Canadian wildfires had made it hazy, plus the sun was backlighting the nest. There were two chicks to the left(west) side of the nest and one behind the narrow post which stuck its head and beak out occasionally (evident in the video).
8:05 a.m. From the side of route 80 I could see the adult perched high on the nest, but although I watched and ran the video, I saw no evidence of chicks--not even a wing stretch. Traffic was already heavy on the interstate, and it shook my camera and scope even though I was pulled off on the grass, to the right of the shoulder!
8:55 a.m. For the first time this year, I saw an adult sitting on the rim of this nest. Apparently, the adults were not visible from route 80 while incubating and I had not gone to the tower access road off Mt Herman Rd. While I watched, I saw at least one, probably two chicks. I saw a wing stretch but couldn't confirm two because I could not count heads!
11:54 a.m. From the observation post on the shoulder of route 80, I saw no sign there were any ospreys on or near the nest. It is late for this nest. If there is an adult on eggs, it is invisible from the highway. Next time I will check from the other direction (up the dirt access road used by the cell tower company) to see if I can see any activity at this nest from that angle.
9:00 a.m. Both fledglings were present along with Mom. They were all on different posts of the cell tower structure. No one was calling for food so I must have missed an early breakfast!
One fledgling was on a top post, near the nest; its sibling was 2 tiers down on a post; the female was on a post at the lowest tier of the four.
8:50 a.m. Mom was on a post and one of the chicks was either on a post next to the nest, or else very high up on the nest rails. I did not see the second chick. I would not be surprised if both chicks have fledged and that only one was at the nest while I observed. These chicks are definitely old enough to have taken their first flights, but unlike at many other nests, I have not seen a chick flying here. It is all about the timing!
9:00 a.m. It has been almost 2 weeks since I visited this nest and I feared both chicks might have fledged and been off somewhere. I was delighted to see two beautiful big chicks sitting on the nest, watching Mom eat! The female was on the post with some small morsel of prey. I imagine she would have fed the off spring first and indeed, the chicks did not seem to be begging or despirate! If these two have not fledged yet, it certainly will be soon.
2:25 p.m. I pulled way off the pavement onto the grass on route I-80--my viewing spot. Mom was sitting up on a post overlooking the highway. At first I didn't see either chick, but then one sat up and moved closer to Mom. After a minute or so, the sibling also sat up tall and one of them walked to the very edge of the tower. I hope they fledge the other way rather than toward this interstate highway! They are old enough to fledge now I believe. It could happen any day if it hasn't already occurred.
9:22 a.m. I saw one chick about 4 weeks old. Mom was on one of the posts and flew to the nest. I then saw two chicks! I watched from route 80 almost to mile marker 9.4, pulling over before reaching that point, crossing the shoulder to the grass, and moving slowly along the grass until I got a good view of the nest looking slightly back of where I parked.
9:25 a.m. I drove toward the tower on the access road off Mt Hermon Rd. It was very brushy and upgrown, had not been mowed perhaps all season. The female was sitting high on a post above the nest. I saw the head and beak of at least one chick! There might be two as it would appear in a video I took. I will have to wait to confirm, but even one is a plus since this is the first time I am able to donfirm that this nest is again productive after last year's failure.
8:00 a.m. The male was on a post; at first I did not see the female. I moved slightly west on route 80 from my first view point at mile marker 9.8 and there I spotted the female sitting very low on the nest and back toward Mt. Hermon Rd. While I watched, she stood at the edge of the nest. I will have to go to the dirt access road off Mt. Hermon and see if I can better see in the nest.
8:35 a.m. As I passed by this nest on route 80, I stopped to observe. I noticed a bald eagle perched on the tower! The nest material is still piled up, but I haven't seen osprey here and last year, for unknown reasons, this nest failed to produce nestlings.
10:15 a.m. I have been by this nest several times while passing on route 80. I have stopped, but have not seen any further sign of nesting activity this year. The adults stayed around after the nest had surely failed. Impossible to say if there were ever chicks...or even eggs. I listed 6/18 as the date of failure. My logic is that on 6/11 the adult still appeared to be incubating or brooding, but by 6/26 the crows were on the nest and no ospreys were seen. Subsequently I did see the adults at the tower, but obviously no chicks.
7:43 a.m. When I pulled off onto the grass along route 80 where I view the nest, I saw both the male and the female perched on the top of the tower. The nest looked as though it was still intact although there are sticks falling down under it. I can't figure out what happened here. I wonder if they had a clutch which failed. They did appear to be incubating on 2 separate visits, but then on June 26 the crows or ravens were on the tower and the osprey no where to be seen.
Today I took some photos then went on to see other nests. From there I returned to Mt Herman on surface roads. At 9:15, I drove into the tower on the gravel access road. I saw that there was still one adult at the nest tower. I don't know if it was the male or the female.
From Route 80 I saw one adult, which appeared to be a female ("necklace"), perched on a tier way below the top where what remains of the nest is located. The nest itself appeared to be collapsed and scattered below the upper corner where I saw the adult sitting on 6/2 and 6/11. After doing eagle nest checks along the Delaware, I returned to view the tower from the Mt Herman Rd entrance. From there I saw no sign of any adults. The one adult I saw earlier was no longer around.
8:45 - 9:00 a.m. It has been two weeks since I was here. I am surprised and distressed to see a crow sitting on the edge of the nest with a piece of stick in its beak. There is no sign of either adult. The nest seems to be falling apart. Did the nest fail? When I saw the adult sitting on the nest two weeks ago, as if still incubating, I thought it was quite late. Or did the crow attack the newly hatched chicks? Either way, I will have to see if the ospreys show up again next time I can make it out here.
I looked quickly from route 80, which is the most unobstructed view of this tower nest. Just as I pulled up I saw one adult perched on the tower structure while the mate brought in a huge talon-full of grasses. Before I could get their photos, both adult flew away. It appears there are more sticks than 2 weeks ago, and these are placed in two locations.
12:00-12:40 p.m. I stop briefly at mile marker 9.4 on route 80, but the chicks are hidden by the pillars so I exit and drive back to Frontage Rd. I can see a parent (probably the female) on a pillar, and two big chicks sitting side by side on the nest. As usual, I have to maneuver to find a hole through the foliage! I then drive out of Frontage Rd, cross the bridge over route 80, and turn into the dirt tower access road. The chicks are big enough now that I can see them from this view point and I watch for at least 30 minutes. There is lots of action. The adult is partially hidden because she is still on the pillar on the opposite side of the tower from where I watch. The chicks are both on the far left and wing-flapping and calling vigorously! I also see an adult fly in and around the tower (probably the male), but he doesn't land, instead the female leaves her perch joins him flying, but returns almost immediately and perched on a pillar on my side of the tower. The chicks continuously call. I also hear and then see, a hawk perched about 100 yards from the nest tower in a tree across the meadow. It is also calling regularly. Perhaps the hawk's proximity is what is causing the adult osprey to seem a bit agitated. In one photo the entire family appears: male flying, female still perched high, and two chicks to the left on the nest. These chicks should be fledging in the next couple days if they haven't already done so.
8:30 a.m. From the grass adjacent to the I-80 shoulder between mile markers 9.6 and 9.4 I have a view of the nest clear of foliage. It is annoying because every time a truck rolls by, it blocks the view. Furthermore, this tower has high, wide pillars spaced closely together. The nest is mostly hidden by the pillars. Now that the two chicks are quite large and nearly ready to fledge, they were easier to see as they sat up a lot. It is possible, but not probable, that a third chick may have been further back away from the edge and thus not seen, but I can only confirm 2. An adult flew in not long after I first arrived. It appeared to be the female. It flew off again after five minutes, and then back to the nest shortly. For the rest of the time the adult sat at the nest with the chicks. No wing flapping or feeding was seen.
After I had watched for awhile, I drove to Frontage Rd for another view. It is quieter with no traffic. I rarely see a resident of this dead end road, but I have to find a tiny space between leaves in order to focus my camera and scope. I was able to get photos of Mom and the two chicks.
11:15 a.m. After visiting a nest further north, I again drove west on I-80. This nest is visible from the westbound shoulder and it is possible to park way over on the grass and to move along slowly until one finds a good, unobstructed view. Pull off between milepost 9.6 and 9.4. When I set up my camera and scope I see that the male (probably) is perched on a pillar, and the female is feeding one of the chicks which is hidden behind a post. The second chick is to the left of the post.
8:45a.m. From the dirt tower access road I could see an adult on a pillar but nothing else. I then drove to Frontage Rd where the view would be excellent if not for the now-dense-foliage! I do manage to find two spots where there are small gaps in the leaves and I set up my scope and camera. I am excited to see and photograph first one and then TWO CHICKS! While I am watching, Mom steps off the perch into the nest. I don't see any feeding. She is just sitting. The chick is to her left and there is a big pillar in the middle of my view. I wonder if there are more chicks hidden by the hardware of the tower! These chicks do not look as young as the one I have just seen a couple miles west of here on Linaberry Rd, but they do seem somewhat younger than the nests I watch south of here. That said, from this distance, fully zoomed, it is difficult to get an accurate idea of age.
2:45 p.m. I thought the last time I was at this nest tower that the view from I-80 might be less obscured. Traveling west bound on I-80, I pulled way onto the grass at the far side of the shoulder and could see one adult on the west edge of the nest. As I watched I saw the head of one chick moving to the left of the parent which I believe was the female. I can only confirm one today, although there could be others. I also found a different angle on this nest could be seen from the shoulder of Mt Hermon Rd, just east of Centerville Rd. Finally, I drove partway down the dirt access road for the tower. I saw the adult on the nest and the mate perched on the tower structure nearby, but I couldn't see the one chick or determine if there were others. This chick seems a couple weeks younger than those I watch in Hunterdon County. The rather large, rectangular parts of this tower do a good job hiding the contents of the nest!
10:40a.m. I drove down a dirt lane off of Mt Hermon Rd that ended at the base of the tower. I saw an adult fly off the tower and heard vocals as I was about halfway to the tower. From part way down the dirt road, I could see the nest on the northwest corner of the tower, but could see no bird on the nest. From the base of the tower looking up, I got a different perspective on the nest and also realized that the tower was very close to route 80. As I was driving back out the dirt road, I saw the adult land on the tower again. According to the map, Frontage Rd parallels route I-80 to the north so I drove there and through very dense foliage, could see the tower and the adult perched on it, but could not really see the nest or its occupants any better. From the behavior of the perched adult, it would seem that this nest has a pair and maybe they have eggs/chicks. I will check again soon.