by Brooke Sambol
Photography by 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.
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