Whirley Crane ospreys now empty nesters

Whirley Crane ospreys now empty nesters

The Ospreys that became local celebrities after building a nest atop Richmond’s historic Whirley Crane are probably feeling a bit like parents who just sent their first child to college.

The Osprey parents — named Rosie and Richmond — have bid adieu to their chick Rivet, who fledged successfully in early July and hasn’t been seen back at the nest since Aug. 20.

We know this thanks to the Golden Gate Audubon Society (GGAS), which in March installed two HD cameras to observe the nest and have been streaming the footage live online for the public’s viewing at SFBayOspreys.org.

“Rosie and Richmond have each stopped by the nest to spend time together and do nest maintenance before migrating away for the winter,”  GGAS announced Friday.

The cameras at the nesting site will remain in operation through winter. The website has attracted more than 700,000 page views, “with site visitors learning more about Ospreys, how to help them thrive in the Bay Area, and even buying Osprey souvenirs,” according to GGAS.

“This has been an awe-inspiring experience,” said Cindy Margulis, GGAS executive director. “Tens of thousands of people enjoyed an unprecedented intimate view of this magnificent Osprey family in all its marvels and drama.”

The drama turned tragic when one of the Osprey parents’ two chicks — Whirley — passed away during a fish dive. But the enriching experience of observing wildlife was a positive one for the community, particularly educators. School teachers throughout the Bay Area and nation downloaded free STEM science lesson plans related to the birds.

“Followers of the online live chat organized two gatherings at the nearby Riggers Loft Wine Co., where they shared stories, jokes, art, and even original music and poetry sparked by these incredible birds,” according to GGAS.