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.
Saw one osprey on the nest this morning around 11:00 am. The osprey was leaning into the nest, possibly feeding young. Only one quick glimpse--it's hard to watch birds when you're driving down the highway! It's very exciting to have them back!
In 2016, an osprey pair attempted to create a nest in the telephone line along Route 36 in Union Beach along the IFF property. IFF built a platform for the nest and moved it during the night, but road construction had been on-going along this section of 36 for several weeks, and the noise and night work seemed to disturb the birds. Although we watched closely, there did not appear to be any nestlings that year. In 2017, the ospreys were back! This time, it appeared as though they were able to raise nestlings and their first successful season at this site was done. We enjoyed catching them in flight or on the nest as we drove through the area. In both 2018 and 2019 the birds re-appeared each year, and we caught them at various points feeding chicks, and occasionally saw the nestlings on the nest, with one of the adults perched on the nest or nearby. Today I had my first sighting of one of the adults. I think it was the female, and she was crouched over the nest regurgitating food, but I'm not sure. I'm not sure if they've been around and we've been missing them, or if they had just arrived and were repairing the nest. I'm sure the other adult was hunting in the nearby quarry or along the shore. We'll keep an eye on them to see what they are up to as far as nesting and raising a brood! We are very excited to be able to watch these magnificent birds for yet another season!