Conserve Wildlife Blog

August 28th, 2014

How To Identify and Find Barn Owl in New Jersey

 

barn owlMichael Britt, avid birder and writer, highlights the Barn Owl (Tyto alba). This medium-sized owl, most widely known for its ‘heart-shaped’ face, is the only member of the Tytonidae family found in North America. In this story, he shares how to identify these owls, when are where to look for them, and offers personal accounts of his most memorable encounters with these beautiful birds.

  • To read the full story, click here.
  • For more information on barn owls and CWF’s efforts to protect these birds, click here.

August 25th, 2014

Update on Duke Farms Eagle Cam

Juvenile eagle, D-98 recovered dead in Maine

by Larissa Smith, Wildlife Biologist/Volunteer Manager

Duke Farms eagle chicks in nest after banding on May 14, 2014

Duke Farms eagle chicks in nest after banding on May 14, 2014

On July 27th the juvenile male, D-98, was found dead by residents of Little Sebago Lake in Maine. He was banded at six weeks of age along with his two siblings one male and one female at the Duke Farms eagle nest which was broadcast live online.

His body was found floating in the lake by residents who reported the band numbers to the National Bird Banding Lab. We then received the report that he was found dead and were able to contact the finders for more information. Residents of the lake which is NW of Portland, reported seeing him near an active eagle nest located on the lake. The nest had chicks which had fledged in early July. On July 25th residents reported seeing a juvenile with a green band sitting in a tree near a boat house;

“The youngster had been in a small tree next to our boat house for quite a long time when an adult, carrying a fish, swooped in over the folks sunning on the beach and attacked the young bird. It dropped the fish in the process. The adult flew off leaving the fish and the juvenile behind. Thanks to a cell phone photo, we know that the youngster had the band colors of the later retrieved juvenile”.

While we don’t know for certain we can assume that the juvenile’s death was in some part due to injuries that occurred when it was attacked by the adult.  It is always sad to report on the death of an eagle especially one that hundred’s of Duke Farms eagle cam viewers watched “grow-up”, but it is the reality of life in the wild. The mortality rate for first year eagles is fairly high as they are still learning to hunt and survive on their own.  It is very unusual to receive this much information on the details surrounding an eagles death.  D-98 made an approximately 390 mile trip up to Maine.  He probably found plenty of food at the lake which is why he was hanging around, but ended up in another eagles territory.  Hopefully the remaining two juveniles from the Duke Farms nest have better luck and survive their first year.

 

August 20th, 2014

Touring Sedge Island – a Breathtaking Experience

By Juliann Fiorentino, CWF Intern

Kayaking at Sedge Island (c) Stephanie Feigin

Kayaking at Sedge Island (c) Stephanie Feigin

With the sun shining, everyone set out on a beautiful short boat ride from Island Beach State Park in Seaside, New Jersey to Sedge Island, a small island in the brackish waters (a mixture of salt and fresh water) of Barnegat Bay. There, the winners, proud parents and teachers from the Species on the Edge Art and Essay Contest learned about the island and the Sedge Island Natural Resource Education Center. After the tour of the house and island, the group set off on a fascinating two hour-long kayak journey into the bay.

After paddling through a very narrow water channel, the group stopped at the first man-made Peregrine Falcon nest in New Jersey. This nest was the first hacking site for the once critically endangered Peregrine Falcons, ultimately leading to the rise Peregrine Falcon population in the late 1970’s. Hacking is an old falconer’s term for a process that provides captive-bred youngsters with a sheltered experience, giving them the advantage of a “soft release” into the wild.

The group getting ready to Kayak (c) Stephanie Feigin

The group getting ready to Kayak (c) Stephanie Feigin

As the group paddled on, we traveled through the different areas of the bay including the grassy areas where we learned about the different grasses that could grow in this brackish water, and which ones were edible.

Next we reached an area referred to as the Bahamas because of its shallow clear, calm water. We  all got out of our kayaks and walked around to search for animals and plants on the sandy floor. We could see hundreds of fish, mud snails, and sea hermit crabs. Even a green crab made an appearance and the Sedge tour guide lifted him up from under the water to teach everyone about its unique body.

Clamming in the Bay (c) Stephanie Feigin

Clamming in the Bay (c) Stephanie Feigin

 

After returning to the island, the group then got to experience the thrill of clamming in the bay, and learned about the efforts of the biologists on Sedge Island to protect the Diamondback Terrapin population that breeds on the island. This was my first time at Sedge Island, along with many others. It was very interesting to learn about the history of this island, and the many wildlife species that inhabit the area. The trip to Sedge Island was a wonderfully breath taking experience – an experience I will never forget.

August 19th, 2014

Piping Plover Population Reaches Lowest Levels in Decades

 

Plover populations at Malibu Beach in Egg Harbor Township are near a record-low this year due to predation, recreation activities and habitat loss. (c) Edward Lea

Plover populations at Malibu Beach in Egg Harbor Township are near a record-low this year due to predation, recreation activities and habitat loss. (c) Edward Lea

New Jersey’s Piping Plover population is at its lowest levels in decades, which raises serious concerns, but they also had one of their most successful years ever statewide in producing chicks. There is hope this will jump start the population again. To read the full article, click here.

  • To watch the video about this years Piping Plover population, click here
  • To learn more about CWF’s efforts to protect these birds, click here.

August 18th, 2014

Humpback Whales and Great White Sharks increasing in New York Harbor

A humpback whale – named Jerry by researchers – spyhops off New York City. Photograph: Artie Raslich/Gotham Whale

A humpback whale – named Jerry by researchers – spyhops off New York City. Photograph: Artie Raslich/Gotham Whale

 

Cleaner waters along the New Jersey and New York coasts are increasing the abundance of Humpback Whales and Great White Sharks. These waters now contain more nutrients and less garbage, and have encouraged rises in fish populations – thus attracting more whales and sharks to the area. To read this full article, click here

For more information on marine mammals in New Jersey, click here.