Rosie and Richie's year starts with Rosie's return to the nest. They get to know each other again, copulate (CK or cloacal kiss is used by chatters as shorthand). Richie re-establishes the connection by bringing Rosie fish and other presents. They both bring sticks, grass and other items to prepare the nest for the chicks. After a few weeks of this, Rosie lays the eggs, usually three. This happens in the space of a week, each egg one to two days after the previous. Now Rosie spends more time on the nest, incubating. Richie does some incubating too and also continues to bring fish. Rosie takes some breaks to fly off for a poop or even to catch her own fish. After 34+ days, the chicks hatch. Rosie is more restless during this period, although she stays on the nest. This is much like the newly wed humans, at first into themselves as a couple then focussed on the coming baby, setting up the nursery.
Once the chicks hatch, Rosie stays on the nest to brood and to feed them. Richie ups his game bringing fish. It is mostly Rosie who feeds but Richie does some. He does not brood much. The chicks sleep, eat and poop.As does the human baby, while the mother nurses it and the father tries to help, sometimes needing a helpful nudge from the mother. What is it she really wants?
The chicks grow quickly and the parents build up the nest to keep their offspring safe. They also warn off all intruders. Put up baby gates and lock the door? Screen visitors? Sometimes the chicks/children squabble, establishing a pecking order, but as they mature, this fighting stops. All too soon, the offspring are ready to try their wings, the human children figuratively, the birds in reality. They make some attempts then one day they fly but many return to the nest for meals, after spending the day with friends. Remember Brisa and Rivet screaming, "I'm home! Where's my fish?" Or a teenager slamming the door, "I'm home, what's for supper?"
Then they truly fledge, fly off to establish their own lives. They live a few years independently, associating with other young ones like themselves, learning to be an adult. They may stop by home, asking to stay for a while, but their parents tell them they have left the nest. And one day, they find a mate, build a nest, and the cycle starts all over again.
Now, imagine raising a family once a year instead of once in a lifetime!
The chatters and lurkers of the Whirley Crane have witnessed this cycle two times now and are on their third year of watching. Each year, there have been more watchers and more documentation. I have tried in my posts to summarize these in text and caps both as memory for the long timers and as an overview for newcomers. Please let me know how this can be improved to meet your needs. And thanks to all who let me use their wonderful caps and gifs. And of course, thanks to the GGAS and all the essential people-Cindy, Tony\, Moderator John who make all this possible!
Facts and Figures in Nuce
This is information particular to "our" birds. For more general information, consult Alan F. Poole's two books.
For a more detailed report and photos, see individual themed posts.
Egg Laying and Chicks
eggs laid: 4/1/17
4/7/17 (overnight during a storm)
The eggs hatch in order of laying.
hatched: May 12 Whirley (WB)
May 14 Rivet (ZR)
The third egg didn't hatch and was disposed of on 5/1/17 by Rosie
Rivet and Whirley both fledged. Whirley flew off early in the morning on July 4, was heard that day then was fished out of the Bay by Dutra Dredging on July 5 and taken to Wildcare with a blunt force injury to her neck. (S)he did not survive. Rivet fledged on July 5, hung around the area then presumably migrated around August 20. Rivet made a brief return to the nest on May 16, 2019, was chased off by Rosie and is presumably still in this area. See below for possible range of area. Rivet is the first osprey to be banded, survive and return to Richmond.
Great chart created by chatter Robin.
1st egg laid Sunday 3/31/19 at 16:12
2nd egg laid Wednesday, 4/3/19 at 17:59
3rd egg laid Saturday 4/6/19 at 12:11
Alpha hatched Wed. 5/8/19 at 18:57
Beta hatched Thursday 5/9/19 at 17:59
Gamma hatched 5/12/19 at 10:10
Gamma died 5/16/19 overnight in a storm, after being left out after feeding. Here are the two parents looking at their lifeless chick. Memorial posted below.
Alpha's eyestripe starts a bit above the eye on both sides. Beta's starts right at the corner of eye.
And back of head markings - Alpha more of an hour-glass shape and Beta a Ginkgo leaf with the split in middle
Name Band Date Bird Weight Likely Gender (based on weight)
Whirley WB 6/16/17 1583 male
Rivet ZR 6/16/17 1618 male
Roemer VW 6/21/18 1600 male
Victory (Vic) VU 6/21/18 1530 male
Brisa VV 6/21/18 1876 female
Peace-up WP 6/15/19 1495 male
Kiskasit ZK 6/15/19 1600 female
Information provided by Tony Brake, our resident osprey expert and "caretaker" of the East Bay osprey nests.
compiled by Craigor, Fish Matrix Master
Fledging and Migration
Rivet is the first banded chick to fledge, migrate and return. According to Tony, he is a male and this is his likely area of settlement. Be on the watch for an osprey with a blue legband ZR!