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Cool Fact:

Ospreys have a "magical" attraction to nest sites that are over water.

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Calling all Osprey Watchers!

This year Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey is helping to coordinate a state wide census of nesting ospreys using data from public observations.

June 12, 2013

News Release:

Tuckahoe, NJ- Ospreys have made a remarkable recovery in New Jersey. From only 53 pairs in the early 1970s to almost 500 pairs in 2009. This year we are excited to announce the 2013 Osprey Census, a state-wide survey of all active osprey nests in New Jersey. This year the census is much different than former surveys when helicopters were the main tool for biologists to get an accurate count of the number of active nests. With almost 1,000 osprey nesting structures in New Jersey, we have decided to gather sightings from the public, or the many "Osprey Watchers" that live in the same areas as our nesting ospreys. Today we believe that there are close to 550 nesting pairs and need your help to prove it.

Ospreys are very charismatic species. People are interested in watching ospreys since many nest right in people's backyards. Ospreys feed on fish; many are the same species that people also consume. Because of this, ospreys are an indicator species. They are very sensitive to contaminants and show the effects of these contaminants long before people. The health of the osprey population can shed light on some of the most concerning environmental issues we face: contaminants, climate change, and overfishing.

Image of Osprey young are very visible in nests once they reach 3 weeks of age, which is typically in late June.Osprey young are very visible in nests once they reach 3 weeks of age, which is typically in late June. © Howie Williams

Do you watch a nest or have a nest on your property? If so, we would like you to submit information on that nest to OspreyWatch. "OspreyWatch is a global community of observers focused on breeding osprey. The observers are linked by an interest in osprey, concern for the health of aquatic environments, and data submitted to a repository through the OspreyWatch website. The mission of OspreyWatch is to collect information on a large enough spatial scale to be useful in addressing three of the most pressing issues facing aquatic ecosystems including global climate change, depletion of fish stocks, and environmental contaminants." On OspreyWatch you can join our "New Jersey Osprey Project" Monitoring Group and report nesting observations to help us determine the total size of the population in New Jersey.


Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager: Email


Kathy Clark, Supervisory Zoologist: Email

NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife, ENSP


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