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.
Two adults are present, one in the nest and one on the perch pole nearby. One juvenile is present. There is aggressive calling noted upon observation, however it is not clear which individual is responsible.
One individual is observed brooding in the nest. The vantage point for this nest is not optimal, so activity is difficult to observe. Calling is noted upon leaving the area, though it is not possible to tell what it is in response to.
Two individuals are seen in the nest, and call for the duration of the approach, observation and retreat. It is nearly impossible to see whether or not there are chicks in the nest due to the high phrag.
No individuals are able to be seen by the observer due to the tall phragmites. No individuals were heard by the observer until the end of her efforts to see the nest through the trees. One 5 burst call is noted, and then the individual falls silent.
Phragmites are too high to see the nest clearly. One individual is seen through the reeds, and calls repeatedly. It is unknown whether or not there was a second individual seen in the area, as visibility was not ideal .
Extensive calling is heard from the roadside. Female is seen in the nest, quiet and motionless during observation duration. Upon leaving the female calls again repeatedly. The perch pole is not visible from the current vantage point due to overgrowth of phragmites.
Extensive calling with four or five bursts each time over short intervals. This individual flies off after a short while. There is no sign of another present in the area. There are no signs of chick though the incubation process is not occurring any longer.
Male and female are present. Female does not sit in the nest, but is perched on the edge and leans in ward. Male calls, possibly alerting to the observer's approach as direct eye-contact was perceived by the observer. Calls were loud and frequent from the male and were noted as the observer left the area for quite a distance. Nearby grasses make visualization of the area a challenge.