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.
Don C reports: Something happened at this Osprey's nest. I don't know what. In mid-May Mom appeared to be incubating her eggs. Up until that time, I would see her walking around the next as if to prepare to lay on her eggs. Something happened about mid-June where activity simply stopped. Up until then, I would always hear that high pitched whistling sound they make throughout the day. All in about 2-3 days then, everything just stopped. Around June 15th, I saw a vacant nest. There was no evidence that eggs had ever been there.
My father said it simply must have been a failed nest. I wonder what caused a failed nest.
I always listen for them and when I take my walks, I always take my binoculars when I walk that way, however I continue to see and hear nothing. I do see an Osprey or two in other parts of Moss Creek however they are always flying. My hope is these two that built this nest will come back and try again. If they do, I will certainly let you know.