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.
Received email from Conservation Officer Shannon Martiak
NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife
Central Region Law Enforcement
"Ms. Mazza, Thank you for bringing this incident to our attention. I investigated this today and determined that the nest in the utility pole caught fire within the last month. A whole neighborhood lost power and the Oceanport Fire Dept responded. The adult pair were unharmed but I would assume the eggs were destroyed. I confirmed this with evidence of charred wood and sticks at the base of the utility pole.
On a happier note, I discovered that the adult Ospreys relocated their nest and are currently nesting in a utility pole at the intersection of Oceanport and Riverside Ave."
Although her investigation revealed the reason for the nest removal, her claim that the occupants of this nest have moved to a nest at Oceanport Ave and Riverside Ave is not correct, to my knowledge. The nest at Riverside Ave (nest #4818) has been there for at least 2 years and was already occupied when this nest burned. I will investigate if a second nest has recently been built on Riverside Ave.