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About The Nest

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The nest on the cam is located on private property in an undisclosed area since some raptors can be quite sensitive to human activity while nesting.  We saw Great Horned Owls earlier in the season and now an osprey pair has adopted the nest for the first time.  

Hilton Head Ospreys

In the Hilton Head Island area, Ospreys generally start their nesting season around February 14th.  

Ospreys are very large, distinctively shaped hawks with brown above and white below and overall they are whiter than most raptors.  Juveniles have white spots on the back and buffy shading on the breast.


Ospreys' diet is almost exclusively live fish and stay around nearly any body of water.  On very rare occasions, Ospreys have been observed feeding on fish carcasses or on birds, snakes, voles, squirrels, muskrats and salamanders. They are unable to dive to more than about 3 feet below the water's surface so they gravitate toward shallow fishing grounds.  Ospreys are unusual among hawks in possessing a reversible outer toe that allow them to grasp with two toes in front and two behind.  When flying with prey, an Osprey lines up its catch headfirst for less wind resistance.  Ospreys can fly close to 80 MPH.


The nest material is made of sticks and lined with bark, sod, grasses, vines, algae, or flotsam and jetsam and select open structures like poles, channel markers, dead trees or a large nest that has been abandoned. The male finds the site before the female arrives and he usually fetches most of the nesting material.

The Ospreys are 21.3 to 22.8 inches in length and weigh 49.4 to 70.5 oz. with a wingspan of 59.1 to 70.9 inches.  The male has a white breast while the female has a brown "bib" or "necklace" marking on the chest.

The clutch size is 1-4 eggs and have 1 brood per season.  The incubation period is 36-42 days and the nestling period is 50-55 days.  The eggs are cream to pinkish cinnamon; wreathed and spotted with reddish brown.  Once hatched, they have limited motion, covered with down, with eyes open and weigh only 2 oz. 


The chicks learn to fly (fledge) after about two months.  They remain in the nest for another two months receiving food and protection from their parents and learning to fish.

Pairs typically breed together year after year and may mate for life.  The typical lifespan is 7-10 years, though rarely can be as old as 20 to 25 years.  

​There are many bird nests in the Hilton Head area including eagles, osprey, red tailed and red shouldered hawks, owls, and great blue heron nests to name a few.  

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