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.
All week I have observed a lone Osprey eating at the utility pole next to were the nest was. Today, I observed 2 Osprey sitting on the utility pole where the nest was previously. I also witnessed another bird trying to start a nest there. This 3rd bird has a stick in its grasp and was landing on top of one of the perched Osprey and trying to, what I assume, push it out of the way.
I returned to the area around noon on Apr 12, 2021. The nest was completely gone. Not only did we have a severe storm Apr 9-11, but there was also utility work that I've previously posted about. On Tuesday, April 13th, I observed the utility crews working in the nest area. It is difficult to determine the true nature of the nest disappearance.
Part 2 update on 4.5.21 - There is a utility crew replacing poles along the road. I contacted FL FWS and unfortunately, there are no protections for removing active osprey nests. I also contacted USFWS. They directed me back to FL FWS. Fingers crossed the line crew stop at their current location. I will be very sad if the nest is removed. The birds will be feeding from fish that are exposed to the gypsum stack leak that is in the news too. Florida has dropped the ball on protection of natural resources.
I'm pretty sure the chicks have hatched. Today, both parents were observed in the nest and leaning forward into the base of the nest. Twice I saw a small wing flap from inside the nest. Hopefully, I will have definitive confirmation soon. I'm very excited about the babies!
This has been an amazing bird watching activity. In Dec. 2020, I'd seen more osprey than usual. I then saw what I thought was mating behavior. Eventually, they started adding a couple of sticks at a time to the electrical pole. Now, there's a full blown nest! They even added more today.