Richmond’s favorite lovebirds — Ospreys Rosie and Richmond — are celebrating the hatching of their first of three eggs of the 2022 season, which was captured on the famous Osprey nest cam. The egg hatched at 3:53 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17, according to the Golden Gate Audubon Society.
The two others are expected to hatch within the next several days.
“Now that the first chick has hatched, Rosie will spend most of her time nest-side as Richmond fishes for his family,” GGAS said in a statement. “Bringing back primarily Striped Bass and Jacksmelt, Richmond takes advantage of his large wingspan and reversible outer toes to catch slippery fish between his talons.”
Rosie and Richmond have produced three eggs each year since the launch of the live nest cam in 2017 along the Richmond shoreline. The nest is located 75 feet up the cabin of decommissioned WWII Whirley Crane, an inactive shipyard crane located in the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historic Park.
“Rosie migrates—possibly to Mexico or Central America—for the winter, while Richmond is one of just a few male Ospreys who overwinter in the Bay Area,” according to GGAS. “They reunited in early March.”
The new chicks weigh less than two ounces and will spend 50 to 60 days in the nest before flying for the first time.
“Rosie and Richmond have surely built back better,” GGAS Executive Director Glenn Phillips said. “The first hatching of the season is always a joyous moment, but we must remember that for the first 100 days, osprey nestlings are entirely dependent on their parents.”
The nest cam has drawn plenty of Osprey fans, but has also contributed to science.
“Viewers are encouraged to call “Fish!” on the live chat, then the fish are identified and entered into a Fish Matrix, which is available for download,” GGAS said. “This year, the Fish Matrix data helped illustrate how an injury to one of Richmond’s talons may be the reason why he was only bringing an average of one fish per day—at a time when he averaged two to three fish in previous years. Teachers are encouraged to build STEM projects around the data, and lesson plans are also available via the website.”
The use of pesticide DDT caused Osprey numbers to plummet in the 1960s and 70s, as it caused the shells of their eggs to thin and break, but since the banning of DDT, Osprey populations have recovered worldwide, and this year at least 47 pairs are now incubating eggs along San Francisco Bay, according to GGAS.
Live streams of the nest cam are viewable at sfbay ospreys.org, along with Osprey information and lesson plans for educators. Highlights from the cam are posted on the SF Bay Ospreys Facebook page and YouTube channel.