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.
I don't think there are any questions that there are hatchlings in the nest. I observed the nest from the top of the Jordan Bridge and again from Elizabeth River Park. I saw no chicks, but the female was always on the rim. She occasionally left to get more nesting material, but quickly returned. At times both parents were present.
We spotted an Osprey on the railroad bridge this pm. It was our first sighting of an Osprey there this season. A short while later, we spotted an Osprey (the same one?) flying low over a dead tree in the park (Elizabeth River Park). It grabbed the end of a branch, but what it grabbed fell apart. Not to be denied, it circled around again and flew over the same tree. But this time, it grabbed the end of a branch and succeeded in pulling off a large piece.
It appears the nest remains unoccupied. Will have to report as a nest failure for the second year in a row. Occasionally, and maybe more often than I realize, guys in hard hats walk the tracks just below. Could this be the problem? Who knows? We did see an Osprey flying, and angling, not far away, but there are other nests not far downriver. Oh well.
Visited briefly around noon. A pair of Ospreys were flying around nearby (over the other end of the bridge and then over the Jordan Bridge), but the nest appeared to be unoccupied. And it didn't look especially large.
Visited in am. Female on nest and incubating. Male visited. Some vocalizing. Amazing how adaptable Ospreys are to human presence. This is a busy, noisy area!! Thank goodness this pair is succeeding so far (unlike last year's pair).
Visited around 4 pm. Two Ospreys were together on the bridge and not too far from the nest. I assume this is the pair that is building the nest on the truss. We also observed an Osprey (one of the pair?) hunting in Scuffletown Creek.
Last years failed nest is occupied by 2 Ospreys! Saw them. Heard them vocalize. Observed one retrieve a stick, bring it to the nest, and add to what was there. Observed some arranging. Nest building in process. Don't think the female is brooding. The nest has obviously grown since I saw it last.
I've been observing/photographing the pair since 3/25. Female had been on nest and male was foraging. Now appears nest has failed. This evening the pair were still around (same birds, I presume), but neither bird was seen near nest. Both were on bridge trusses though, and one (male?) foraged. I observed nest last week. Nest was empty then as it is now.