Home > News > Introducing the Bay Area’s first Osprey Nest Cam!

Introducing the Bay Area’s first Osprey Nest Cam!

March 29th, 2017

Golden Gate Audubon is thrilled to introduce the Bay Area’s first live Osprey Nest Cam! We’ve installed two high-definition video cameras close to an active Osprey nest on top of the Whirley Crane, a 75-foot-high World War 2 maritime crane along the Richmond shoreline.

The live video stream — viewable at SFBayOspreys.org — will allow Bay Area residents and people around the world to enjoy intimate views of an Osprey pair as they raise young over the next several months. The perspective on the nest affords a close-up view of Osprey family life, while also providing a breathtaking view of S.F Bay throughout the day. At night, the cameras switch to infrared mode so the sleeptime rituals of the family will be viewable without disturbing the birds.

Rosie and Richmond, the Osprey pair, on the nest

“Ospreys are successfully nesting along the edges of San Francisco Bay for the first time in recorded history,” said Cindy Margulis, Executive Director of Golden Gate Audubon Society. “The presence of these charismatic raptors highlights the environmental progress that’s been made in our region, and underscores the opportunities for people to help Ospreys prosper here. We believe that witnessing the life of an Osprey family along our urban shoreline can inspire the whole community to protect Ospreys and other Bay Area wildlife.”

Nest and wildlife cams have become a media phenomenon in recent years: Last year, a nest cam focused on Bald Eagles in Washington D.C. drew over 63 million views. The Bay Area’s Peregrine Falcon cameras have been popular for a while too. However, the unique vantage point of the Whirley Crane nest will thrill wildlife watchers as the Ospreys are raising their family on historic real-estate, with a commanding view of the Bay and the S.F. skyline from the nest camera.

Night image with infrared camera

Ospreys are one of nature’s wildest raptors, yet they are now choosing to breed near people – even using human-made structures like the Whirley Crane. While Ospreys historically nested along Northern California lakes, none had been documented nesting on the Bay’s edge before the 1990s. Their numbers started growing in the 2000s, and by 2016 there were 42 known Osprey pairs nesting and 51 new Osprey fledglings joined the summer population last season.

Golden Gate Audubon’s new Osprey nest cams will operate 24/7. Since it’s still early in the nesting season, Bay Area residents will be able to observe ongoing bonding and courtship, followed by the incubating/hatching/fledging drama that will play out over the next several months.

The Whirley Crane pair have been named Richmond (for the location of the nest) and Rosie (for the Rosie the Riveter historical monument nearby).

How to tell the Whirley Crane pair apart

Information about Ospreys and how local residents can help them is available on the web site that hosts the nest video stream, SFBayOspreys.org. The site also includes a chat room where Osprey fans can ask questions and share observations about developments at the nest.

And it includes a set of free, downloadable lesson plans for secondary school teachers (grades 6-12), using the nest cam to inspire enthusiasm for wildlife and ecology and interest in STEM (science/technology/engineering/math).

Check out the Nest Cam and then share it with friends!

Read coverage of the Osprey Nest cam in the San Francisco Chronicle and East Bay Times.

View some recordings from the nest cam:

View the Nest Cam live feed and web site: sfbayospreys.org