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.
Last year, this pair left early. We saw a chick once, but not after that time, so we assumed something happened to it. The nest was either torn down or blown down over this past Winter, so it will be interesting to see what happens. It had been built up quite high over the years. We called it the Osprey Mansion. No activity as yet.
Incubating had been initiated early on with this pair. They will be hard to keep an eye on. They have built their nest up so high that we can barely see the top of the head of the parent incubating. Even then, they have to be in a certain position or we can't see them at all!
This is our favorite nest as it's one of the 2 we watched before getting involved with the Osprey Watch. As of 3/16/15, there is one osprey in the nest. So far, the mate has not been seen. Usually, it is somewhere nearby and most often it's on the telephone pole near the nest or one of close trees.
We continued to check this nest for awhile, but never did see anymore activity. We are assuming that once this chick fledged, they went elsewhere. This pair usually stays around for awhile, but not this year.
Still only seeing the one chick. That is, until today......This is a very deep nest, so we don't know if the chick has fledged or was hunkered down in the nest. One of the parents was in the nest when we got there, but it flew out, flew around, and landed on a nearby telephone pole. We never saw chick activity.
Mom is very protective here!! She was sitting up in the nest, when we went by. Another osprey pair came very close by and she was fussing at them until they finally circled away from her nest. We have not seen the male for some time. I don't know if something has happened to him or we just keep missing him. This was one of the nests where we always saw him sitting on a pole or a tree nearby, in previous years.
The female was sitting up in this deep nest when we stopped over today. She then kept poking her head into the nest and worked herself all the way around in a circle, eventually, while still poking her head/beak into the center of the nest. She also removed some twigs while we were watching. We thought she was doing some housekeeping.
There is at least one chick in this nest. Both parents were in the nest this evening when we checked on them. However, being the deepest nest, it may take awhile before we see more of the chick or chicks!
The female was up on the edge of this nest a couple of times while we observed. We did not see the male. The previous years, before I started the Osprey Watch, this male was always nearby. Not this year. I am thinking there may be some small ones in the nest, since she is now spending time on the edge.
Male was on his nearby pole when we visited. Female is in nest and looked to be eating. We listened to see if there were any new noises coming from the nest and did not hear anything yet. This male is very observant, watching us and a group of people having a cookout in the park area next door.
This nest is so huge that it's hard to see if anyone is in it, at times. Every now and then, the female will pop her head up and look out, but it's hard to tell if she is actually incubating or if any eggs have hatched. So far, she is spending most of her time in the nest. The male is usually close by, as seen in some of my photos. He has his favorite spots!!
We did not stay long today, for observation. There was a family gathering at the park where this nest is located. There are medical offices on the other side of the fence, which is where we observe from. The family gathering had spilled into the medical parking lot, so we only did a quick check. Female is on the nest and male was seen flying away from the nest when we pulled up. He did not return during the short time we were there.
I believe the female is incubating. The last few times we've traveled over to this nest, she has been in incubation position. The male was nowhere to be found yesterday, so we watched for a bit. I saw a bird in the distance and as I wondered if that was the male, the "real" male came out of nowhere from the opposite direction (from the river) with a fish. The pair shared dinner together.
Doing a quick check on this nest today and saw 2 ospreys almost getting into a fight over the nest. The female is sitting in the nest, one osprey swoops over and another came in quickly to chase it away. Not sure what was going on, if the intruder is trying to steal the nest or the mate??
At first, we didn't see either one from this nest. Then, as we started to leave, we saw them both in trees at the park next door. The nest is ready, since it didn't change much from the end of last season.