2013: This pair has been the first pair of osprey back on the James between Presquile Island and Osborne Landing. This morning (March 2, while passing the channel marker at 6:40am, I saw an osprey on the marker.
2014: First osprey back on the James in the Jefferson's Reach area again … third year in a row! March 2, 2014 about 7:30am.
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.
As usual, this pair, Annie and Walter were the first to arrive back on the James River in the Varina area. This makes four years in a row I believe. They had to start from scratch with their nest and have been quite busy building. Their nest is looking well formed and full right now.
Saw the female osprey in this nest today. Saw her about 7:30am. Assumed she just got here today or yesterday. No sticks present at first sighting, but by 10am she had about three sticks on the nest site. Saw her carrying one, which was stick number three.
This pair is definitely feeding a chick or chicks. Just about all osprey in the area are still incubating eggs, but I have not been on the water in four days, so I am sure much has changed. Hope to make it out tomorrow if the weather holds.
March 4, 2013. This pair continues to construct their nest on the upriver side of channel marker 146. Gradually, a number of osprey are returning to the area, but none yet have began construction of their nest.
The photo posted is of the male and female on the nest site, channel marker 146. There are roughly 50 branches already in place on the western side of the marker. This photo was taken March 2, 2013 about 7:50am.