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.
Because of the angle of the nest to the road, it is impossible to see inside. However, today, for the first time, I saw a definite chick head peering over the edge. So, we definitely have at least one chick in the nest. Fellow Master Naturalist Bruce G saw feeding behaviors about three weeks ago, so I think we can guess that the chick is 21-25 days old. Hopefully, we'll be able to tell soon if there is a second chick in the nest. As far as I know, this is the first successful nesting for this pair. So, all this is great news.
This is a tough nest to see into. It's so high, I can only barely see any bird activity from one location on the Jamestown Settlement side of the nest, but only on the "higher ground of the roadway. I think I saw a lone adult low in the large nest, but I did not have a high-power scope, just binoculars. No second adult observed.
Carolyn Morgan did an activity report on nearby nest #1584 seeing a nest on 3/13/2020. #1584 blew away around 2018 - I think she meant nest #6662. While launching my kayak from marina, I saw an adult on a nearby branch but could see nothing w/the naked eye on the nest. Upon my return from kayaking, with binocs, saw an adult seemingly low in the nest, but no second adult on the nearby branch. Since I saw low-sitting birds on 2 of my 3 nests in the Back Bay along the Jamestown Causeway -- maybe #6662 also has a female on eggs? -
Butterfly Girl and I went over to the Marina today and watched the new nest for a while. I took some photos and we were fascinated by the constant chatter of the two. Right now they are both just sitting on the edge of the nest and making a lot of noise when eagles or vultures fly over. It’s a beautiful nest for only being three weeks old, so we have high hopes we’ll soon see the female incubating.