Well our first osprey chicks have begun to hatch in the past two days! Every year it is as if I am experiencing it for the first time....although, after all these years, I am much more skilled at recognizing the subtle early signs of hatching. Often the females have a sligtha different body position, but you have to have been watching them closely during incubation to notice the changes. They may be sitting a little higher, a little more hunched over. I often notice that when they do stand up, instead of the egg rolling action, they often just stare into the nestcup. When they resettle, they do it much more gently than the “plop” that I often see when they are sitting on eggs rather than newly hatched chicks. Their attention becomes much more focused downward than outward. Of course the tell tale sign of hatching is when the male brings a fish. If the female takes it and leaves to eat, there are no chicks. If she has chicks, she will begin taking small bites and leaning into the nest cup to feed them. They are unable to stand up at first so when viewing from the ground, you will not be able to see them for quite some time. It may be ten days or more before their little heads pop up and they begin to move around the nest. Part of this depends upon the depth of the nest and the angle of viewing. The feedings go quickly as those little crops can’t hold much, but what a joyful experience it is to see evidence of the new little osprey lives beginning. I watched two nests that had hatched today, and it was as moving as the first time I witnessed this. Many more nests will follow this week, and we may see hatching as late as the third week of June this year. Some nests have failed already, so we will see how this unusual year ends up. At any rate, we have some happy birthdays to celebrate!