Osprey chicks are here!

Rosie and Richmond, the pair of Ospreys featured in our live nest cam along the Richmond shoreline, hatched two chicks over the May 1st weekend and the third is likely to hatch any day now.

Watch the nest live, via our two hi-def video cameras, at sfbayospreys.org. Or view daily highlights on our SF Bay Ospreys Facebook page or YouTube channel. Or if you just want a quick (adorable!) peek, click here for a video of the first chick shortly after hatching.

First chickFirst chick, at about 12 hours old.

 

“The emergence of these chicks inspires hope on so many levels,” said Glenn Phillips, Executive Director of Golden Gate Audubon. “It was just a couple of decades ago that Osprey numbers were dwindling because of the pesticide DDT. Now, thanks to environmental protections, Ospreys are raising families along the Bay shoreline. Nature can be so resilient—but it’s up to us to give it a chance.”

The number of Osprey nests alongside San Francisco Bay is growing. While Ospreys weren’t known to nest alongside the Bay before the early 2000s, by 2016 volunteers documented 37 active nests that produced 51 fledglings. Last year, they found 51 active nests with 99 fledglings.

Golden Gate Audubon launched its live video stream in 2017, bringing over 70,000 viewers to a nest 75 feet above the ground on a decommissioned World War 2 maritime crane in Richmond, next to the Red Oak Victory Museum ship and near the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park. Each year since then, the adult Osprey pair have returned to raise chicks together.

Rosie and pipping eggRosie tends nest while first egg starts to hatch Rose and Richmond on the nestRosie and Richmond on the nest Hatch graphicGraphic by nest cam volunteer Craig Griffeath showing expected hatch date of third egg, based omn observations of the past four years

This year the pair has taken turns sitting on the nest since March 24, when the first egg was laid. Once the chicks have hatched, Rosie will spend nearly all her time at the nest and Richmond will bring fish to feed her and the young.

Ospreys are fierce fish eaters with adult wing spans of up to six feet. Newly hatched chicks weigh less than two ounces and have a wingspan of about three inches.

Over the past four years, nest cam followers created descriptive (though not scientific) names for the life stages of Osprey chicks—starting out as “bobbleheads,” then “dinosaur phase,” “feathers growing in,” “wingercizing,” “hovering above the nest,” and finally, fledging. …

Join our Climate Watch program

What’s even better than watching birds? Knowing you’ve done something meaningful to protect them. That’s why Golden Gate Audubon Society is joining other chapters across the country for the upcoming season of National Audubon’s Climate Watch.

White-breasted Nuthatch by Joseph MahoneyWhite-breasted Nuthatch by Joseph Mahoney

As the impacts of climate change continue to unfold, nearly two-thirds of all North American bird species could struggle to adapt. When you participate in Climate Watch, Audubon’s newest community-science project, you’ll give Audubon scientists vital data on how birds are faring now—which guides our most effective conservation work to help them adapt.

The next season of Climate Watch runs from May 15th to June 15th, so we’re recruiting our participants and mapping our survey routes over the next two weeks.

If you can identify Western Bluebirds, Spotted Towhees, Lesser or American Goldfinches, or White-breasted, Red-breasted, or Pygmy Nuthatches by sight and sound — or if you’re eager to learn — we invite you to put your bird knowledge to use and help us document how these species are already responding to climate change in the Bay Area.

For birders who need some help identifying any of the species we’ll be surveying, we’ll provide instructional videos. Depending on the number of participants, we may be able to pair you up with a more experienced birder to teach you all you need to know.

You can find a brief video about Climate Watch here.

Contact Climate Watch local coordinator, David Robinson (dvdrobinson@gmail.com), for more information on how to take part. Whatever your level of birding expertise, you can help Golden Gate Audubon play an important part in protecting Bay Area birds and the places they need.…

Spring 2021 Gull is now online

Gull cover - spring 2021The spring 2021 issue of our quarterly Gull newsletter is now available online, with stories on Birdathon 2021, our Plants for Birds initiative, and GGAS’s dedicated volunteers. Also upcoming guest speakers and a feature on American Avocets, just as their white plumage starts to turn orange for breeding season!

To download and read this new issue of The Gull, click here.

P.S. If you’re a GGAS member who receives the printed edition of The Gull by mail but would like to switch to online delivery by email, contact our office at ggas@goldengateaudubon.org. This saves postage and paper.…

Meet Our New Executive Director Glenn Phillips

Golden Gate Audubon Society is delighted to introduce our new Executive Director, Glenn Phillips.

Phillips, who grew up in the East Bay, brings a wealth of experience in bird conservation, urban nature education, and non-profit management. A lifelong birder, he was executive director of New York City Audubon for seven years. He is also the first openly gay executive director in GGAS’s 105-year history.

“We are fortunate to have someone as experienced as Glenn assuming the role of our new Executive Director,” said Eric Schroeder, President of the GGAS Board of Directors. “Glenn’s leadership and vision will help guide us towards our goal of creating North America’s most bird-friendly urban community.”

Having recently moved back to the Bay Area with his husband and two children, Phillips said he can’t imagine a better homecoming than his new role at GGAS.

Glen PhillipsGlenn Phillips, our new Executive Director

“As a kid growing up in the East Bay, the forests, chaparral, grasslands, and wetlands around the bay were my playgrounds, looking for wildflowers, reptiles, and birds,” he said. “When I moved to New York after college, my mother asked, ‘Why is my nature boy moving to New York City?’ After 30 years and stints at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Prospect Park, and New York City Audubon, the Golden Gate has called me home.”

Over his seven years at New York City Audubon, Phillips grew its membership by 50 percent and increased its revenue from $650,000 to $1 million. Before working at Audubon, he served as vice president for education at the Prospect Park Alliance in Brooklyn and manager of programs at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. After his time at Audubon, he worked for the American Bird Conservancy, doing advocacy to prevent bird-building collisions.

Now—as the country starts to emerge from a year of Covid-19 lockdowns—the time is ripe for new leadership and ambitious new initiatives at GGAS.

“The pandemic opened so many new eyes to the wonder of birds in our own backyards,” Phillips said. “Now we have an opportunity to work together to make our neighborhoods better for both birds and people. We need to reduce our footprint on the planet, seek environmental justice for those who have borne the brunt of short-term thinking, and build a stronger, more diverse group of stakeholders committed to protecting birds and the remaining open spaces in our communities. In this era of #MeToo and #BlackLives Matter, we must also ensure that the birding community is safe and welcoming for all.”…

The Winter 2021 Gull is now available

The new edition of The Gull is now available online. Our Winter 2021 edition has lots of great stories, including a behind the scenes look at Auk the Vote!, a grassroots campaign created by GGAS board members and volunteers, birding during the pandemic, learning about the Feminist Bird Club, and more!