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Breeding success of ospreys relies heavily on food supply and males ability to catch prey.

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New Jersey Osprey population reaches historic milestone!

Statewide Census reveals ospreys had a banner year in 2013.

November 27, 2013

News Release:

Tuckahoe, NJ - For the first time in New Jersey, ospreys have officially reached the historic milestone of over 500 nesting pairs! Forty years earlier was a stark difference. In 1973, only 50-60 pairs were found along our coast. Osprey reproduction was greatly diminished from the effects of DDT, which was widely used in the 1950s and 60s. At the same time our coastal habitats, ospreys main habitat, were being bulldozed for waterfront housing developments. Protection under the NJESA, early reintroduction efforts and hard work by biologists, like Pete McLain and Kathy Clark, have paid off!

This year was the first statewide census since 2009, when 485 nesting pairs were documented. We relied solely on input and observations from the general public to help determine the overall size of the population. With the help of the many "Osprey Watchers," we were able to survey 75% of the population in New Jersey. To help achieve these amazing results we partnered with the Center for Conservation Biology and Osprey Watch, a global osprey watching community, to map 1,000 nest sites in New Jersey. This was the first time osprey nest sites were released to the public.

Image of A total of 8 nests produced 4 young each this year. One in Sandy Hook, 3 on B. Bay, 2 on Great Egg Bay, one in Wildwood, and one on the Cohansey River.A total of 8 nests produced 4 young each this year. One in Sandy Hook, 3 on B. Bay, 2 on Great Egg Bay, one in Wildwood, and one on the Cohansey River. Ben Wurst

In late June and early July volunteers and staff surveyed all major nesting colonies along the Atlantic Coast and D. Bay. A total of 542 active nests were recorded. 405 of those active nests (known-outcome) produced a total of 777 young. Productivity, a measure of the health of the population, was calculated at an average of 1.92 young/active (known-outcome) nest. A total of 488 young were banded for future tracking.

Ospreys and the Storm

Ospreys were largely unaffected by Superstorm Sandy. Most of them were already on their wintering grounds in northern South America and Central America when the storm hit. A total of ten nesting platforms were damaged or destroyed and all were repaired by volunteers and CWF staff. We don’t really know the long term effects that might occur given the large amount of hazardous chemicals that were released into the coastal estuaries from the storm surge. During coastal cleanups we’ve picked up many containers of rusty petroleum cans, gas cans, oil jugs (with oil inside, some leaking, some not), paint cans, cleaners, etc..). We do collect addled eggs during nesting surveys to use for future contaminant studies.

Ospreys are indicators of a healthy marine environment, so it's important to monitor the health of their population!

Find Related Info: Osprey

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Image of A map of all new nests found in New Jersey this year.

Download a map of all new nests found during the 2013 Osprey Census.


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