Conserve Wildlife Blog

October 29th, 2014

Tracking New Jersey’s Bald Eagles

Transmitters attached to juvenile eagles in 2014

by: Larissa Smith, volunteer manager/wildlife biologist

Juvenile male bald eagle (D/95) with GPS transmiter being attached. Kathy Clark/ENSP

Juvenile male bald eagle (D/95) with GPS transmiter being attached. Kathy Clark/ENSP

Since 2011 ENSP and CWF have been following the movements of young eagles outfitted with transmitters that have fledged from the Merrill Creek nest in Northern NJ. Currently two eagles are being tracked.

During the summer of 2014 two juvenile bald eagles were fitted with a GPS tracking device (a wearable backpack). Biologists chose one eagle from Atlantic County (a male) and one from Cumberland County (a female) to be tagged in this telemetry study. The male hatched at a nest near Nacote Creek in Port Republic, and wears a green band with code D/95. The female is from a nest on the Maurice River; she wears color band E/05.

The male, named “Nacote” (D/95) had a transmitter attached at 8.5 weeks of age on May 6, 2014 and on May 22, he first moved away from the nest tree. He remained within about 1/4 mile for more than one week as he learned flying and landing skills. He made a bold northern movement in late July, and was in Canada until mid-October when he started heading south. He currently is in upstate New York.

The female,  named “Millville” (E/05)  was about 8.3 weeks of age when outfitted with the transmitter. The banding date was May 19, and she remained close to the nest until late July, venturing out to Delaware Bay marshes and back in early August. In mid-September she crossed the Delaware River into Delaware and then spent most of September along the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland before crossing over to Virginia. She headed back into Delaware recently.

An interactive map showing their current location can be viewed on our website.  It’ll be interesting to see where they end up this winter.




October 27th, 2014

Conservation of the Osprey: Slideshow

Edwin B. Forsythe NWR osprey family. © Tom Sangemino

Edwin B. Forsythe NWR osprey family. © Tom Sangemino

Ospreys are clearly one of the highlights while visiting the Wildlife Drive at Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Oceanville. Visitors are given a glimpse into the lives of these fascinating birds through the placement of their man-made nesting platforms along the Drive. One photographer, Tom Sangemino documented their nesting season from beginning to end and created a wonderful slideshow. Within the slideshow Tom also chose to educate people about the restoration of ospreys in New Jersey and ways that you can get involved to help their continued success!


October 25th, 2014

Big brown bats in N.J. thrive as smaller cousins decline

Big Brown Bats (c) Phil Wooldridge

Big Brown Bats (c) Phil Wooldridge

White-nose syndrome continues to kill off little brown bats in New Jersey, but there is hope on the horizon for another species of bat – the big brown bat. Reporter James O’Neill explores the changing fortunes of New Jersey’s bats.

October 24th, 2014

Protecting Bats – What is Being Done and How You Can Help!

Hard to believe, but October is already here! And that can only mean one thing — bats! Everyday throughout the month of October, follow CWF on social media and our blog to fly high with these incredible creatures of the night! Each day we will have fun facts, quizzes, and beautiful photos highlighting these amazing animals and the work CWF does to protect them.

Our previous coverage included an overview of bats in New Jersey from our biologist, a look into the threats facing bats today, and a reality check on the myths and legends surrounding bats! Today we share some examples of ways you can get involved in our efforts to save bats in New Jersey.  Stay tuned next week to join CWF bat biologist Stephanie Feigin in the field!

Make sure to follow us everyday on Facebook and Twitter and read our blog every Friday for our #31daysofbats!

By Julianne Maksym

Big brown bats in bat house (c) Stephanie Feigin

Big brown bats in bat house (c) Stephanie Feigin

With terrifying threats like White Nose Syndrome, bats face a tremendous fight for survival. Populations are declining worldwide at an alarming rate – some species are becoming so rare they are hardly ever seen at all.

Bats need all the help they can get and Conserve Wildlife Foundation (CWF) offers some simple ways to get involved and make a difference:

Building a bat house: This can create a safe and secure home for a colony of bats of up to 80 individuals. These houses provide the opportunity for bats to settle into a new roost before being evicted from a homeowner’s dwelling. The most ideal location to position a bat house is on the side of a building (where bats already roost) or on a pole in open space. The house should be set at a minimum of 12 feet off the ground facing south to southeast with early and direct sunlight. CWF is able to offer free bat houses in cases where bats are being evicted from a building. If interested in setting up a bat house please contact us, as we would like to monitor the process.

Summer Bat Count: During the hot summer months, we ask volunteers to participate in our annual Summer Bat Count. There are a total of four bat counts per summer – two between May 15 and June 21 (before pups can fly) and two more between July 6 and July 31 (when pups are flying and exiting the roost with their mothers). Making sure you do all four bat counts will allow us to best compare data from year to year and between sites. Previous yearly reports and current data sheets can be found at CWF’s ‘Summer Bat Count’ page.

AnaBat acoustic detector. The attached PDA (like a little computer screen) lets us view incoming bat calls instantly. © MacKenzie Hall

AnaBat acoustic detector. The attached PDA (like a little computer screen) lets us view incoming bat calls instantly. © MacKenzie Hall

Acoustic surveys: To aid in bat research across New Jersey, CWF purchased two AnaBat SD2 acoustic detectors for the purpose of studying echolocation and general bat behavior. Four bat detectors are now in circulation for use; volunteers now do most of our mobile acoustic surveys. Volunteers are assigned a 10-30 mile driving route in their local area to travel twice each summer after dark. Detectors can be mounted on vehicles and activated while driving at night, making them a pretty quick and easy way to get a lot of information – all without having to catch, hold, or even see a single animal. For more details please contact us, as there is currently a waiting list for the acoustic detectors.

Plant a night garden: Love bats and have a green thumb? Plant a night garden! In these sanctuaries, night-scented flowers are grown to attract bugs such as moths, which in effect provides an ample food source for bats. Plants such as white jasmine and evening primrose and herbs such as mint and lemon balm are great to start with. Plant oak or field maple trees to add some shelter and warmth to your garden. To get started on your green project, check out Back to Nature, an artisanal home and garden store located in Basking Ridge, NJ. *Note: 10% discount for CWF members.

Do not disturb bats during hibernation: A huge way in which to help maintain stable bat populations is to stay away from caves, roosts, or trees during hibernation season. It is important to not disturb a hibernating bat as any disruption to its sleep can result in early awakenings. It is estimated that a bat can burn up to a two weeks worth of fat reserves in each awakening which in turn can severely weaken and/or kill the bat. Whether you are outside hiking or just taking a stroll and encounter a roost, leave quickly and quietly!

IMG_1497Adopt a Species Program: Interested in adopting a bat? Check out CWF’s Adopt a Species Program for the Indiana Bat. Your symbolic adoption supports our efforts to protect New Jersey’s rarest animals, restore important habitat, and foster pride in New Jersey’s rich wildlife heritage. Adopting a Species also makes a great gift for a friend or loved one. Give the gift that gives twice!

Bats face an ever-present uphill battle due to both natural and unnatural causes. Populations are in desperate need of help! Whether it is building a bat house or a night garden or anything in between, every action you take in supporting these animals means we are one step closer in providing a stable world for them. Join CWF in volunteering your time, educating the public and most importantly, protecting our amazing bats!

Julianne Maksym is a graduate wildlife intern for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey

October 22nd, 2014

Spotlight on Meghan Wren, Women and Wildlife Leadership Award Winner

Megan Wren: Founding Director of Bayshore Center at Bivalve Recognized for her Conservation Efforts

As an iconic protector of the Delaware Bay for over 26 years, 2014 Women & Wildlife Leadership Award Winner Meghan Wren has devoted her life to restoring the region through hard work, dedication and leading by example.

Megan Wren, inspiration award winner

Megan Wren Leadership Award Winner

At 23 years old, Meghan led a restoration effort for the 1928 oyster schooner A.J. Meerwald. Through a variety of volunteer and community-based fundraising activities, along with major grant support, A.J. Meerwald was brilliantly restored and is now New Jersey’s official Tall Ship, serving as a sailing classroom. Meghan founded Bayshore Center at Bivalve in 1988 to motivate people to take care of the history, culture and environment of the Bayshore region. More than 20 years later, Meghan has continued to transform Bivalve through a number of restoration and conservation projects, as well as, the opening of the Delaware Bay Museum & Folklife Center.

Join us as we honor Meghan and the three other 2014 Women & Wildlife Award Winners this Thursday, October 23rd beginning at 6pm. Purchase events tickets and find more information.


CWF asked Meghan a few questions about what working in wildlife conservation means to her:

What motivates you to get out of bed each morning and go to work?

“I go to work each morning to do what I can to raise the level of concern for and participation in the stewardship of New Jersey’s Bayshore.”

What is your favorite thing about your job?
“My favorite thing about my job is the diversity of opportunities. While focusing on Delaware Bay, I have had the opportunity to learn about a broad range of scientific issues, conduct historic research and collect first hand stories, meet and work with amazing people and experience the magical, seasonal phenomenon of the Bayshore’s flora and fauna.”

Name one thing you can’t live without.

“I can’t live happily without my daily fix of Bayshore vistas across wide expanses of marsh and water.”

Do you have a New Jersey wildlife species that you like best? Why?

“I’ve had a long personal history with Diamondback Terrapins, helping hatchlings find the water for as long as I can remember. I love the first warm days of spring, when I can find them emerging from my garden in search of the water. They are so different from one another in color, tone and markings. I love to see the heads of females pop out of the water unexpectedly as they scan the shoreline for a place to come up to lay their eggs.”

What interests you the most about New Jersey’s wildlife?

“I am particularly interested in learning more about the life cycle and stories of the Bayshore region species.”

Name one piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to change the world.


What wildlife “lives” in your office? At your home?

“My office, in Bivalve, on the Maurice River just two bends before Delaware Bay, has daily eagle visits. The historic roof over the wharves entices shorebirds, skimmers and seagulls depending on the season; mute swans, fiddler crabs and occasional otters cavort in the mud and water between the docks. There is a mini-oyster reef just off the dock with oysters, gobys and a plethora of unseen marine life. The 4,000 acres of wetlands contiguous to the property host countless species of birds, mammals and fish.

“My home in Money Island on the Nantuxent Creek also hosts abundant eagles, ospreys and marsh hawks overhead and speedy peregrines over the water. Purple martins, barn and tree swallows, great horned owls often call at night from the surrounding trees and orioles. Wrens and mourning doves nest in the yard. Along the road, I find muskrats, raccoons, opossums, skunk, mink, otters, weasels, rats, meadow voles, coyotes, and an occasional deer. All the usual suspects including raptors, warblers, shorebirds and songbirds in the skies, trees and marshes; and the ever present clapper rails, willets and great blue herons can be heard clacking and squawking from the wetlands.”

What do you find most challenging about your profession?

“I find it very difficult to juggle competing priorities, especially when all of them seem incredibly urgent.”

What is your favorite thing to do when you aren’t working?

“I enjoy spending time outdoors with my family, walking along the Bay beaches, kayaking its tributaries and hiking through its woodlands.”

Please join us this Thursday, October 23, 2014, from 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the Trenton Country Club to honor the contributions that Meghan Wren, Brooke Maslo, Cathy Malok and Jeanne McArthur-Heuser have made to wildlife in New Jersey.

We are excited to recognize the leadership and inspiration they provide for those working to protect wildlife in New Jersey. Women & Wildlife will also celebrate the timeless and inspiring journeys of wildlife migration in New Jersey and beyond.