Conserve Wildlife Blog

May 20th, 2022

Grassland Bird Survey Yields Promising Results

by Meaghan Lyon

Earlier this week CWF and USFWS biologists joined forces to start off the season with a grassland bird survey in Burlington County, New Jersey. The vast grassland habitat, doubling as an airfield, is home to the state endangered upland sandpiper, state threatened grasshopper sparrow, savannah sparrow, and bobolink, as well as the eastern meadowlark, a species of concern. These bird species, among many others, can all be found nesting at this site in the clumps of grass during the months of May, June, and July. Many of the management practices at the airfield, like consistent mowing, help maintain this grassland habitat and keep it an early successional state for grassland birds to nest in year after year.

For the survey, biologist met on site just before sunrise with binoculars hanging from their necks and clipboards with data sheets in hand. Male birds were already perching on tall blades of grass and singing to attract mates and defend territory as we dispersed to our survey points. At each point it was our job to distinguish what bird song and calls we were hearing and record any focal species activity onto our data sheets.

Between the three surveyors and 25 survey points, all of the target species were identified as well as hundreds of red-winged black birds, two great egrets, and a few mallard ducks. Of particular note, one upland sandpiper pair was sighted in its usual nesting area.

Three more surveys will follow between now and the end of the grassland bird nesting season. Follow along for updates throughout the season!

May 7th, 2022

Three healthy peregrine falcon eyases in Elizabeth!

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Another season of growth and new life is here! As many species are beginning their annual life cycle to reproduce, some peregrine falcon pairs already have young. The eyases (young falcons) at the Union County Falcon Cam are a prime example. They are now a little over a week old and have been examined and treated for a pigeon borne disease, called trichomoniasis, which adult falcons can transfer to their young. If young falcons would get trich., then they could perish. Kathy Clark, NJDEP Fish & Wildlife Supervisory Zoologist, UC staff and colleague Cathy Malok, w/ The Raptor Trust visited the site to ensure the survival of this brood.

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May 6th, 2022

Restored Garden is Ready for Wildlife at Watchung Reservation

by Meghan Kolk, Wildlife Biologist

Conserve Wildlife Foundation has successfully completed the restoration of the Certified Wildlife Habitat behind the Trailside Nature and Science Center at Watchung Reservation. The project was initiated last fall with a major clean up of the overgrown and neglected garden. The cleanup included pulling weeds, digging up unwanted and overgrown plants, trimming shrubs and trees, clearing vines from trees, and raking and blowing leaves. As a result, sunlight was let into the garden so that new wildlife-friendly plants could be added. After the cleanup, new native shrubs were planted that attract bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other birds. A new deer fence was also installed to protect the plantings from deer browse. 

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May 5th, 2022

Announcing the Winners of the 2022 Species On The Edge 5th Grade Art & Essay Contest

by Ethan Gilardi, Wildlife Biologist

Red-headed Woodpecker by Anya Pole (Franklin Montessori School, Somerset County)

Thank You to Everyone Who Participated in the 2021 Species on the Edge Art & Essay Contest

Congratulations to the hundreds of hardworking and creative 5th grade students who advocated for an endangered or threatened species from New Jersey through an art piece and essay. You have inspired everyone at Conserve Wildlife Foundation with your enthusiasm for protecting our cherished wildlife.

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May 4th, 2022

Beach Nesting Bird Monitoring is Underway at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge

by Todd Pover

CWFNJ’s 2022 Edwin B. Forsythe NWR Beach Nesting Bird Field Crew. L to R: Jacob Miranda, Lexie Lawson, Amy Kopec, Erin Foley, (missing Dakota Bell).

For the past eight years, CWF has been contracted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through a cooperative agreement to provide monitoring and management of beach nesting birds at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge nesting sites – both the Holgate and Little Beach Island Units – provide some of the only habitat in the state closed to the public and free of human disturbance and detrimental beach management practices. The habitat at the sites is especially suitable for the state endangered piping plover as a result of optimal nesting conditions created by Superstorm Sandy and largely sustained since then through winter storms. As of the 2021 season, the Refuge sites had the highest concentration of piping plovers in the state, with Holgate having by far the most pairs (46). Furthermore, on average in recent years, Holgate has produced a higher fledgling rate than many sites in the state.

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