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.
When I am in the neighborhood, there's usually one in the nest and one on the tower which leads me to believe there are eggs. However on more than one occasion, I have witnessed this tower nest under attack from other ospreys. I am wondering if it's Bonnie and Clyde from the nearby Cranberry Ave nest because that one appears to have been deserted (directly across from that nest on a very narrow lagoon, a huge McMansion is under construction. Owners sold it so their modest home was knocked down for a monstrously big home. The continuous activity and noise may have caused Bonnie and Clyde to desert their home. The most recent photos are of the interloper pair, She looks familiar because she is missing some feathers on her right wing. I will have to check previous years photos.
I haven't seen any activity at this tower. Last year the pair started building mid summer, very scraggly ( they began to re-build after their initial attempt was thwarted by man). Because they began so late in nest-building this leads me to think that they weren't mature for mating purposes.
I saw Hepburn by herself perched on the cell tower as she was calling out for Tracy. Finally he appeared with breakfast but oddly enough he plopped into the nest and the two just looked at each other as to say "Now what?" This behavior leads me to believe they are indeed young ospreys and not ready to made yet (3 years). As I was driving away I looked up and suddenly another osprey did a fly-by at the nest and there was a skirmish. I jumped out of my car with the camera but was only able to capture Hepburn flying away because it happened so quickly.
I really hate to visit Bay Head on a summer weekend even thought it's soclose to me but I saw a lot of activity at Thurston's and Lovey's from my little beach across the bay so I HAD to go pay them a visit. Curiously on my way back from their nest, I saw from my car as I was traveling on Lake Ave., a bird on the cell tower on the firehouse property... I parked on Bridge Ave. and walked to the tower. The bird was gone BUT the orange plastic things on top were gone, and there's nesting materials again!!! I am hoping Hepburn and Tracy returned...I will check very soon.
I had heard rumor of a nest being built on the new "temporary" cell phone tower in Bay Head NJ behind the fire station. On my way back home from checking on Thurston and Lovey, sure enough, I saw Hepburn and Tracy homesteading! This nest will be interesting to follow bc I think it's late in the season to be starting to nest. Another observation is both ospreys' brown necklaces are very faint so I think they're young.