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.
NOTE: Observations have led to the following thoughts.
It is unlikely that anything is going to happen at this nest this
year, but maybe next season. We can still report on it, and it might
help us understand what this pair is doing. They may be young and
haven't figured out this mating thing!
Trish S reports:
I went past the nest Friday, 5/19 and there were no Osprey at around 1 pm.
At about 3:30pm when heading home there were 2 Osprey on the tower. One was close to the nest but not really “at” the nest. Actually they both look like they were using the tower to watch for fish. This was the first time that I had seen any Osprey in a couple of weeks.
Carol C reports: one osprey in the nest and another sitting on another spot of the tower. The nest still looks very thin and in poor shape. She may have been incubating, but it is hard to tell for sure.
Tish S reports: Just crossed the bridge and the pair of Osprey were sitting at the nest. Looks to me like they have a way to go to have a usable nest. Based on last year’s nesting attempt, they seem to be minimalist! We shall see how they do this year.
Rosemary S reports: I crossed the bridge to Bluffton several times this weekend, and each time I saw an osprey sitting on one of the cell towers. The third time, I was driving slowly enough to see it was on a nest! Not a very good one I might add, just a few twigs.
Tish S reports: I have been watching this nest site all month and their attendance at the nest was regular but not always. However, the last 2-3 weeks there has always been an adult Osprey present. During 2 different bad storms I observed both parents at the nest - they were very wet and had that wind-blown look but they were at the nest! They have added nesting material to the site. They appear to have a nest.
NOTE: Based on these observations and what Carol C also saw, we THINK they may have eggs in this nest. Our guess of 4/20 is simply a guess of when incubation might have started. She did appear to be in incubation posture on 4/26.
NOTE: Although this nest was gone in 2021 and there was no sign of it earlier in 2022, we have reactivated it based on the observation reported by Tish S. of seeing osprey at the nesting site several times in the past week.
Tish S reports: Well you’re not going to believe this. Tuesday of last week (3/15) I saw an Osprey sitting on the power line tower where this nest used to be - I couldn’t believe my eyes. About 90 minutes later, on the way home there was no Osprey. That afternoon I had to go back to Blufft0n and on the way home the Osprey was back. On Thursday there was no Osprey sighting. This morning when I was heading over there at about 9:15am there were 2 Osprey sitting on this nest area. When I came back there were still/again 2 Osprey at the nest area. Now if they are going to build a nest here, they need to speed up on the building! I can say that at least 1 stick has been added because there is now a stick that hangs out past the tower that one of the Osprey likes to perch on. Time will tell if they are building a nest or just using it for a resting/fishing spot.
Tish S reports: I believe the Osprey chick in nest 4175 has fledged. This nest is located to the north side of the bride between Hilton Head Island and Bluffton which my husband and I cross 2-3 times every week in both directions - for a total of 4-6 viewings of the nest each week. We have watch a single chick head get bigger and bigger over the month+ that we have been monitoring the nest. On Friday May 31st we commented how large the chick had gotten - we were able to get a longer view of the chick because the heavy traffic had slowed our driving speed. We brought a camera with us on Monday June 3rd with the intent to get a picture. Unfortunately, there was no chick on Monday. We have not seen the chick in the nest all week with 4 trips to Bluffton and back (8 viewings total). We have seen the adult Ospreys sitting on the cross braces but not at the nest. Unfortunately the nest is not at a location that allows it to be monitored for more that a minute at a time. Only 1 chick head was ever seen in this nest. While the time for each viewing was just moments at a time, given the angle of view and the total number of views of the nest if there had been 2 chicks we would have observed a 2nd head at some time.
Tish S reports: On Friday, May 17th I observed an adult Osprey feeding chick. I have not been able to determine whether there is just 1 or if there's more chicks in the nest. They have reached the point where both adults will leave the nest at times.
NOTE: This is data posted by someone else on this nest between 2013-2018. It is copied from their posts. It did not appear that this person was monitoring the nest any longer so the Hilton Head group has added it to our monitoring list. Here is the info from a previous person: Ospreys did not return to nesting site in 2014. Nest was blown away during 2013-2014 winter storm. In spring of 2015, a male and female osprey returned to site and rebuilt nest. In Jan/Feb, there were no remnants of the previous nest probably due to Hurricane Matthew passing through. But on March 3, 2017, I spotted a female osprey perched on the tower. She stayed for a long time until we walked away. There was one big tree limb lying across the screen on top of the tower. (I think the screen was secured there by humans for a nest base a long time ago at the time the tower was abandoned.) Mar 6: Nest is growing! One female perched on tower. April 23, 2017 nest viable with one female sitting low in nest as if incubating eggs and raising head now and then to look all around. Male appeared flying overhead squealing as we approached the tower. He dropped a piece of fish into the nest. Two chicks' heads were seen (from the bridge) in the nest on June 18, 2017. April 18, 2018 male and female ospreys observed on the nest.
This nest is viable. Female osprey observed sitting low in the nest on top of the tower. Male observed flying over nest squealing as we approached. Later he flew over and dropped a piece of fish into nest.
This had been an active nest with at least one fledgling every summer for several years. But the nest was blown away in a bad winter storm in early 2014. The male and female Ospreys returned to the nest in February 2014 and made an attempt to restore the nest. But they gave up and did not return to the site.