Conserve Wildlife Blog

July 30th, 2014

Osprey Chick Banding – An Unforgettable Experience

by Brooke Sambol

Photography by Eric Sambol

Osprey close up (c) Eric Sambol

Osprey close up (c) Eric Sambol

The other day, my dad and I got the chance to accompany CWF biologist, Ben Wurst, on an osprey-banding excursion – him for photography, and me for the experience.

At 6 am, we set out on a small boat in Tuckerton, New Jersey. Through the salt marshes, we visited each nest for Ben to take notes on the ospreys occupying them. When the conditions were right , he could also band the chicks.

Ospreys are truly beautiful birds, magnificent to behold, and even more so up close. I was fortunate enough to hold one chick while Ben attached a band around its ankle.

Brooke Sambol holding an Osprey (c) Eric Sambol

Brooke Sambol holding an Osprey (c) Eric Sambol

Over the years, CWF has played a major role in osprey monitoring and species rehabilitation. The work they’ve done has really paid off. Due to the widespread use of the pesticide DDT during the 1970’s, osprey populations in New Jersey plummeted from over 500 nests to just 50 nests. Since then, biologists, including those from CWF have implemented an intensive osprey rehabilitation project.

This included the replacing of healthy osprey eggs from Maryland into DDT-weakened New Jersey nests, the building of hundreds of osprey nest boxes along the coast, and diligent monitoring.

In 2013, biologists counted 405 nesting osprey pairs. The success is monumental, and a testament to the change that can occur through science and dedication.

Brook Sambol is a Coastal Wildlife Intern with Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey

July 24th, 2014

Photo from the Field

Running the numbers

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Ben Wurst prepares to band two osprey nestlings for future tracking. Photo courtesy Eric Sambol

Ben Wurst prepares to band two osprey nestlings for future tracking. Photo courtesy Eric Sambol

By now many young ospreys have taken to the wing. While they still rely on their nests to perch at night and their parents for food, these juveniles take to the skies to learn the skills needed to survive to adulthood. Our nesting surveys have been completed, birds banded, and our sunburn and green bites are healing! Over the next week I will start to enter and summarize data that I’ve collected and data from our volunteer “banders” who help cover the most densely populated colonies. From my surveys, which range from Mantoloking to Atlantic City, I’d say that productivity is down in some areas and up in others, as compared to last year. But, ospreys still had a decent year. I would NOT call it a BAD year!

By far my own survey effort was not as great as last year, when we conducted a census of all nesting ospreys in NJ, by publishing our nest locations on our partners website, called Osprey Watch. This year I battled broken boats, a severe cold (still didn’t slow me down), harsh south winds, and thunderstorms to get to as many nests as I could, especially on Barneget Bay. Why Barnegat Bay? We all have heard that Barnegat Bay is dying. Overloaded with excess nutrients from stormwater runoff, which is killing off the eelgrass beds that provide shelter for many juvenile fish, aka future osprey prey. This project will help us learn about osprey foraging habitat on N. Barnegat Bay. Are more birds foraging in the ocean in those areas, as opposed to birds that nest closer to LBI and LEHT? Hopefully our ospreys will help shed some light on the health of the bay. Lastly, the project would not be possible without the generous support of Jim Verhagen, chief blogger/extrordinary photographer at “Readings from the Northside” and his many followers. With their support we were able to purchase (100) and deploy (60) a red auxiliary band on young birds. These bands are engraved with an alpha-numeric code which will make identifying birds much easies than only the aluminum USGS band. In the coming weeks Jim will be giving us some assistance with setting up a nice little website where people can learn all about the bands, the birds, and most importantly: report re-sightings of these awesome new bands!

July 15th, 2014

CWF Selected for Rain Barrel Auction Through EarthShare NJ

rainbarrelphoto4

 

On May 30, 2014 EarthShare New Jersey launched the exciting new Rain Barrel Auctions program.  Thanks to a donation of barrels from Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. in Bordentown, N.J., each of the 24 members of EarthShare New Jersey will have one designed which captures the important work each of these charities do for our environment.  The auctions are designed to raise awareness and funds for the local members of EarthShare New Jersey. 

Rain Barrels offer a long-term, sustainable way to collect and store the rain water that drains from our roofs and gutters. The water can then be used around the home, in the garden, or even for hydration as long as it is adequately filtered and cleaned.  Each of the rain barrels being auctioned off are not only functional, but exquisite one of a kind works of art designed by artists from across the state. The program will run until the end of 2014.

The rain barrel designed for CWF was recently posted on eBay. CWF is very excited to have been selected for this effort, and we hope this rain barrel raises awareness and the sale is a success! The proceeds for this rain barrel will be split with CWF and EarthShare.

EarthShare is a national non-profit federation with 25 years of experience in connecting people and workplaces with effective ways to support critical environmental causes. Together we’ve raised more than $300 million for programs that care for our air, land, water, wildlife and public health — in your community, across the U.S. and around the world. EarthShare develops and manages employee engagement and giving campaigns to increase support for its member organizations and help our workplace partners achieve their philanthropic and CSR goals.

Conserve Wildlife Foundation is a non-profit and an EarthShare local member organization. Together CWF and EarthShare work to create a sustainable environment through education, conservation, preservation and community awareness. Through ongoing statewide and community activities we address so many important issues.

 

Check out our rain barrel, with beautiful artwork by Diane Novobilsky, here

rainbarrelphoto3 rainbarrelphoto2 rainbarrelphoto1

July 15th, 2014

Osprey Craziness!

Ospreys are a common sight along the New Jersey shore during summer months.

Each year myself and other dedicated volunteers conduct surveys of osprey nests by boat.

Each year myself and other dedicated volunteers conduct surveys of osprey nests by boat. Photo by Jim Verhagen

We use ladders to access nests. Photo by Jim Verhagen

We use ladders to access nests. Photo by Jim Verhagen

We count the number of young produced.

We count the number of young produced.

While checking nests the adults circle nests and often dive bomb banders, like myself.

While checking nests the adults circle nests and often dive bomb banders, like myself.

Dive bombed like this. Photo by Jim Verhagen

Dive bombed like this. Photo by Jim Verhagen

And this... Photo by Jim Verhagen

And this… Photo by Jim Verhagen

Young are banded for future tracking.

Young are banded for future tracking.

This year a color auxiliary band is being deployed on young that are produced on Barnegat Bay.

This year a color auxiliary band is being deployed on young that are produced on Barnegat Bay.

The bands will allow us and "Osprey Watchers" to ID individuals birds and we will learn a great deal about their dispersion, site fidelity, life span, etc...

The bands will allow us and “Osprey Watchers” to ID individuals birds and we will learn a great deal about their dispersion, site fidelity, life span, etc…

While checking nests, with or without young, we clean out any trash that we find. Photo by Jim Verhagen

While checking nests, with or without young, we clean out any trash that we find. Photo by Jim Verhagen

After surveying a nest the adults return to care for their young.

After surveying a nest the adults return to care for their young.

 

July 11th, 2014

Delaware Bay’s Stranded Horseshoe Crabs Saved by Volunteer Effort

by Stephanie Feigin, CWF Program Coordinator

This marks the third story in Shorebird Week! Our first blog post, on Tuesday, introduced the film “A Race Against Time” and directed you to a free viewing of the film on our website. Our second blog post, highlighted an incredible news story about a resighting of the iconic Red knot B95 on the Delaware Bay! And today’s blog post, will highlight volunteers incredible effort to save stranded horseshoe crabs!

Volunteer Don Senior extracts an impinged horseshoe crab from the rubble on the south end of Fortescue beach along the Delaware Bay on Saturday  (c) Phillip Tomlinson South Jersey Times

Volunteer Don Senior extracts an impinged horseshoe crab from the rubble on the south end of Fortescue beach along the Delaware Bay on Saturday (c) Phillip Tomlinson South Jersey Times

This story illustrates the incredible efforts of volunteers for Conserve Wildlife Foundation and other conservation groups to save the stranded horseshoe crabs on Delaware Bay beaches. Horseshoe crabs can easily be flipped onto their backs by incoming tides, and they are not able to right themselves on their own. They also get trapped easily by tides and man-made obstacles, such as debris, which leaves them unable to return to the water leaving them to eventually die.

 

Return the Favor, a multi-group effort, has committed to rescuing as many horseshoe crabs as possible from South Jersey’s Delaware Bay beaches by regularly combing designated stretches of beach and helping to flip the crabs back on their bellies and redirect them back to the water. If possible these volunteers go out daily and rescue all of the flipped or impinged crabs. These efforts have been very successful so far, and they hope to continue these efforts and engage more about who want to volunteer.

  • To read this full news article click here
  • More information on how you can become a volunteer can be found on their website at www.ReturnTheFavorNJ.org.

And make sure to check out the film “A Race Against Time” which highlights CWF’s efforts to restore the Delaware Bay Shore beaches as well!