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 had hoped to pull off the GSP to observe this nest. I had all my equipment with me, but the traffic was so heavy that we avoided the GSP on the way home. Heading south on the first part of the trip, I could not see this nest. The best way to observe is northbound on the GSP where there is a pull-off. I have not tried service and secondary roads for this or the other nest slightly north of this but also along the GSP.
Once again, we are speeding past this nest on the GSP. I did not stop but am reporting that there is definitely osprey nesting going on here. One of these years I will have to schedule a trip down here to see if I can get chick counts to add to the NJ Osprey Project's numbers!
12:49 p.m. We are traveling north on the Garden State Parkway so I pull over on off the travel lane, between the exit ramp and the on ramp. It is not a place I would want to stay at long, but I am able to get a few photos. It appears there is at least one chick in this nest...and an adult.
Osprey still seem to be present at this nest site. Again, it was difficult to stop as I traveled south on the GSP. This site could be seen if one were quick enough to pull over, but difficult to do this from the express lanes. Possibly easier from the northbound side. Anyone who chose to report regularly would have to investigate the best viewing place.