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.
11:12 a.m. En route out to the Delaware to check on an osprey nest north of Milford I go within 1/2 mile of here. I pulled into the front of the firehall and immediately saw one of the fledglings sitting on a post next to the nest. It was calling persistently; I expect it was hoping for a fish delivery by the parent(s). It appeared to be a female. After Diane found an empty nest on 8/17, it was nice to find at least one of the chicks had flown back to the nest.
Making the rounds today, this nest was my first stop. As I approached the firehouse, I could see no osprey in the nest or on the tower structure. I stopped for a quick look around.
Seeing nothing, I headed out to the side road to get a look around the backside of the nest. Nothing. No one was home this day. While I did not witness chicks flying, but they were observed practicing strong, I will presume 2 chicks have fledged this nest. I will continue to check to see if I can confirm with photos, both chicks flying.
2:50 p.m. Passing very close on my way home after a long day of watching many osprey chicks and knowing many more have fledged, I stopped by the firehall. As I pulled up to park, I thought I saw one of the chicks flying back from the north into the nest! Is there a fledgling or two? I can't be certain, so will wait to change the report or perhaps Diane will witness a chick flying!
After I set up camera and scope I confirmed one chick (#1) was on a post, the other (#2) was wing flapping and jumping high above the nest behind its sibling! Then it was the turn of #1 to flap and float high above while returning to the nest from its perch on the post. Both chicks were calling constantly, and both were very active. Then I spotted the female who first flew around the nest several times without stopping. At around 3 p.m. though, she flew back and perched on a post on the southeast side of the tower. She brought no prey. I only stayed around 30 minutes because it was already late, but these chicks were so entertaining to watch!
As I approached the fire station, I could see an adult sitting on the edge of the nest. It was difficult to see the back of the nest so I road on for a better view. It didn't take long for a little head to pop up. I watched and was rewarded with a big wing stretch by one nestling. During that stretch the other popped up. This nest has 2 nestlings! I watched both preen and stretch while the female kept watch.
8:10 a.m. Heading out to Milford to check osprey towers I stopped at the firehall and heard the female calling persistently for a fish delivery. I moved to Union Rd but couldn't see any better from there this morning. When I got back to the front driveway of the firehall I spotted one chick! It will be interesting to see if there are more chicks.
10:30 a.m. I thought I could see movement from the front driveway of the firehall, but could not tell what it was so I drove to Union Rd. From there I could see an adult osprey that appeared to be sitting low in the nest. I also saw another adult walking around as if rest building. It walked toward the west side of the nest. I returned to the firehall front area and could see it standing and fussing around with the nest material. Meanwhile, its mate continued to sit toward the east side of the nest and was not visible from the firehall as one is too close to this tall tower. Thus, Union Rd is the better viewpoint but tended to have a lot of cars using it as a cut-over. The Kingwood maintenance garage is a bit farther east on Union. One could park there and then walk to set up in the field across from the tower.