Tom and Audrey, one of the Chesapeake Bay’s top celebrity couples, have welcomed a baby. And because they live their lives in front of a live-streaming webcam, fans got to see the very moment their new addition arrived!
The osprey couple, who occupy a nest at an undisclosed location on Kent Island, just hatched a chick at 4:24 a.m. Friday, June 25. As millions of people tune in to watch the Explore.org/ Chesapeake Conservancy livestreams, a fan was able to record video of the egg hatching. Watch below to see the chick join the world and begin to eat, with the help of its parents:
The owners of the property where Tom & Audrey’s nest sits, known as The Crazy Osprey Family, have been streaming video of osprey life since 2002 (they set up the camera as an education resource for their daughter’s school), partnering with the Conservancy for almost a decade. Admittedly, the Tom & Audrey that viewers from around the world watch with dedication are not the same Tom & Audrey every year. Rather, the ospreys that take up residence at that nest in any given year are referred to as Tom & Audrey.
This year, Tom & Audrey settled in to nest in late April, fighting off an interloper and laying three eggs. One egg was damaged and another appears to be past its point of viability, but the third egg yielded the new chick on Friday. It’s cause for celebration, as last year none of Audrey’s three eggs actually hatched.
The osprey chick will stay with Tom & Audrey for about 3-4 months. In that time, the chick will grow much larger and begin to fledge after about 60 days. When will we know whether the chick is male or female? Chesapeake Conservancy tells us that some years, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife raptor biologist comes out to band the new chicks, and when those visits are possible, the biologist will determine its sex.
For webcam viewers, there are a few telltale signs to look out for: female hatchlings tend to develop pronounced brown necklaces and patterns on their chest, and are a bit larger than male osprey.
–Meg Walburn Viviano