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.
On March 29, this pair was not incubating. Today there are two eggs in the nest. Went in the nest to remove vegetation, drill holes in the solid plywood platform bottom, and add a perch. Female returned to the nest and her eggs as soon as we left.
On July 14 I received a call from the property owned where the nest is located saying that a bald eagle had dove at the chick hitting it and knocking it into the water. I rescued the chick and found it had a few cuts, likely from a talon strike. I took the chick to a rehabber, Pearl Beamer, who treated the wounds. Today she took the osprey to the vet and during surgery to repair wounds the osprey died.