Conserve Wildlife Blog

November 30th, 2020

#Thankful

‘Tis the season for osprey nest platform repairs — and being thankful for the volunteers who make it happen!

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

AmeriCorps Watershed Ambassadors clean out nesting material from a 20-30 year old nest platform.

After migratory birds depart, leaves fall and northwest winds prevail, a small group of dedicated volunteers descend on our coastal saltmarshes. They’re there to maintain osprey nest platforms. Around 75% of our nesting ospreys rely on these wooden structures to reproduce. They were used to help jumpstart the early recovery efforts of ospreys in coastal New Jersey, where much of their native habitat was lost to development in the 1950-60s. Today many of these platforms are reaching their life span or are very close.

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November 26th, 2020

Conserve Wildlife Foundation Team Gives Thanks

by Morgan Mark & CWF Staff

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family from our Conserve Wildlife Foundation family!

Thank you for all of your generous support this year.

Our staff would like to share with you what they’re thankful for this season.

Stay safe and enjoy your holiday!


If you’re viewing this blog on your computer, you can click on each staff member’s block to enlarge the photos and text.

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November 25th, 2020

Turkey Time: Spotlighting the Wild Turkey

by Meaghan Lyon, CWF Biologist

A wild turkey spotted in a Manitoban provincial park. Photo by Vince Pahkala.

Over the years, the wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) has been widely domesticated for food and has become part of this country’s heritage for Thanksgiving dinner. There is evidence that Native Americans have been hunting turkeys as early as 1000 A.D. Each year, over 46 million turkeys are eaten each year on Thanksgiving – but how much do you really know about the turkey?

Instead of our holiday emblem, the wild turkey nearly found a drastically different role in American culture. Ben Franklin proposed it to be the official bird of the United States, and though some say he did it in jest, he praised the turkey as “a true original native of America…a bird of courage…and a much more respectable bird” than the bald eagle!

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November 23rd, 2020

Part 1: An Eagle Nest Removed

by Larissa Smith, CWF Biologist

April 21, 2020, Three Bridges adult with 2 chicks@ Daniel Kroon

The following was written by NJ Eagle Project volunteer, Daniel Kroon. He monitors this nest along with several other dedicated volunteers whose photos are featured in this blog.

The Three Bridges (Hunterdon County) eagle nest is located on the top arm of an electric transmission tower. This pair has successfully nested on the tower for the past five years. This line of towers is scheduled to be replaced with new monopoles and the work on it has recently begun. PSE&G is cooperating with the NJ Bald Eagle program to move this nest to a new pole platform. Unfortunately, the pair is already on territory and have been observed bringing a stick to the old nest. It is an interesting story of how these eagles are adapting to the human-created environment and how we are trying to accommodate them.

The pair at nest October 17, 2020 before work begins @ Mary Ellen Hill

On November 4, PSE&G removed the top of the tower, keeping the nest intact, and lowered it to the ground where they carefully removed the nest from the tower structure. The nest is stored in a shed and will be re-installed on a platform affixed to the new tower when it is erected. We hope the eagle pair accept their remodeled home.

The evening of the nest removal, volunteer Mary Ellen Hill observed the pair sitting together on the adjacent tower.

November 4th, 2020 @ Mary Ellen Hill
November 4th, 2020, pair on adjacent tower after nest removal@ Mary Ellen Hill

We will follow up with part two of this story once the new monopole tower is installed and the nest is placed back up on the platform. We thank all the nest monitors, PSE&G and everyone involved to make this as successful as possible.

November 21st, 2020

The Mighty Migration of the Magnificent Monarch

by Mary Emich, Assistant Biologist

Monarch butterfly refueling in Cape May as it prepares for fall migration to Mexico.
Photo courtesy of Lindsey Brendel.

Over the last decade, the monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus, population has declined. Climate change has affected weather conditions, the winters are colder and wetter while the summers are hot and drier. This disturbs their survival rate, especially during their long annual migration. Other factors like pesticides and a loss of habitat to human development further threaten the monarch population.

The monarch butterfly migration is mysterious and magnificent. Every fall season, monarch butterflies travel thousands of miles from their breeding grounds in the United States and Canada to escape the cold winters. Monarchs in Eastern North America spend the winter months in the Transverse Neo-Volcanic Mountain Range in Michoacan, Mexico. To reach their destination, monarch butterflies migrate over 3,000 miles, utilizing the air currents and making many stops along the way.

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