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.
3/14/12- Noticed one osprey on the nest. 3/20/12- Noticed two ospreys on the nest. There is another nest about 200 yds west on the next power pole overlooking Little Creek Reservoir and Lake Smith (which is being tracked by another user). *Both these platforms are relatively new as of Summer 2011. VA Power upgraded the power poles and tore down the established nests on both the above tracked nests, which had been there several years. I later found out VDGIF officers destroyed the eggs. Both nest pairs started rebuilding their nests and subsequently caused a power outage in the area when their nest material short-circuited an electrical component. VA Power eventually added nesting platforms again and no more problems since. 10/16/12- Both nests previously mentioned are empty and have been so for at least two weeks. I noticed one fledging in my monitored nest over the summer. There are still ospreys in the Lake Smith area. I saw one circling above my house near Lake Lawson four days ago and occasionally hear vocalizations in the area during midday for the past couple days.