Conserve Wildlife Blog

February 23rd, 2018

Photos From the Field: Bonnet Island Falcon Tower

Not your average birdhouse…

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

We were subcontracted by NJDOT to install a new nesting tower for peregrine falcons in Stafford Twp., Ocean County. We’ve assisted NJ Fish & Wildlife with monitoring the falcon nest that was previously located beneath the Route 72 Causeway Bridge for the past several years. The new tower is located on Bonnet Island and highly visible on the eastbound side of Route 72. Read the rest of this entry »

February 22nd, 2018

CWF live interview with PBS Nature explores climate change impacts on birds

The WNET-PBS Nature program Peril & Promise celebrated the Great Backyard Bird Count with two live interviews with Conserve Wildlife Foundation at DeKorte Park in the Meadowlands.

In the first live interview, CWF Executive Director David Wheeler and Jim Wright, who has written widely about birds and the Meadowlands, discussed the importance of bird counts to CWF’s work, and the growing threat of climate change on bird populations around the world.

Climate change is “toughest on the migrants,” said Wheeler. “When you think about a bird leaving its neotropical wintering grounds in Central or South America and then coming up to New York or New Jersey, that’s a leap of faith that everything is as it has always been. But in reality, as spring seems to arrive earlier each year along with the leaves, the foliage, the insects, basically the bird risks coming back to a depleted prey resource – and they can struggle to survive.”

 

 Photo by Jim Wright, Meadowblog.net

View the interview here. Check our blog again tomorrow for the second interview, discussing the remarkable recovery of bald eagles.

Peril & Promise: The Challenge of Climate Change is a public media initiative from WNET in New York reporting on the human stories of climate change.

Richard W. DeKorte Park is a nationally recognized birding hotspot along the Atlantic Flyway with 3.5 miles of walking trails in the shadow of the Manhattan skyline, part of the Meadowlands region where over 285 bird species have been identified. It is managed by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.

February 20th, 2018

Reducing Roadkills of Terrapins in S. Ocean County

Dedicated volunteers help reduce mortality of adult female terrapins

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Volunteers Elizabeth and Courtney measure the height of a female terrapins carapace.

Now that Northern diamondback terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin terrapin) are officially considered a nongame species, our work to help conserve breeding adult females is more justifiable. Before July 2016, adult terrapins, including egg bearing females, could be harvested during an open season from November to March. With that said, it was troublesome to know that a 15+ year old female that you helped safely cross a road in summer, could be harvested, shipped to Asia and eaten only a few months later… Now, we can rest (somewhat) easy knowing that the hard work of our dedicated volunteers will live on and help the population grow (there are still many threats to terrapins including collisions with boats, vehicles, poaching, drowning in ghost crab pots, etc…) Read the rest of this entry »

February 18th, 2018

Salamanders already on the move

by David Wheeler

Photo by David Moskowitz

The salamanders and frogs in East Brunswick got an early start to their migration season by crossing this week on February 15. David Moskowitz found spotted salamanders, wood frogs, dozens of spring peepers, and one wood frog crossing the temporarily closed section of Beekman Road in the early evening rain.

“This is the earliest they’ve ever moved – by about a week – in the 12 years I’ve been closing the road,” said Moskowitz.

East Brunswick has closed the road for a few nights each late winter/early spring when conditions are just right. While all amphibian species are vulnerable, spotted salamanders are a species of special concern in New Jersey.

 

Photo by David Moskowitz

Conserve Wildlife Foundation partners with certain municipalities and the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program on salamander crossings in northern New Jersey. This is a key initiative among CWF’s amphibian projects.

The East Brunswick crossing offers the best opportunity for the public to take part and see these salamanders and frogs up close. Check their website for the next expected crossing and share the road with a salamander!

February 15th, 2018

New Year brings a new amphibian!

by Allegra Mitchell, Wildlife Biologist

 

Each New Year promises an exciting year ahead, and conservation science is no exception! As biologists gear up for the field season, CWF’s amphibian programs are particularly noteworthy.

 

Our Amphibian Crossing Project has made major strides in protecting the frogs, toads, and salamanders migrating to breeding areas, and we’re launching a new program this year to better document the newly discovered mid-Atlantic coast leopard frog. You can help CWF biologists collect data and save these fragile creatures.

 

Read below for more details about each program. In the meantime, if you would like to support CWF’s amphibian programs, please visit our YouCaring page here: https://www.youcaring.com/conservewildlifefoundationofnewjersey-1091698 . Your contribution will help us develop training materials and cover research expenses to protect our most vulnerable frogs and salamanders!

 

Amphibian Crossing: A New Twist on an Old Program

The long-standing Amphibian Crossing Project, established in partnership with the New Jersey Endangered and Nongame Species Program (ENSP) in 2002, has been organizing dedicated volunteers each spring to chauffer migrating amphibians across roads as they trek from their upland hibernation sites to their breeding ponds. This program has saved thousands of frogs, toads, and salamanders from vehicle strikes so that local amphibian population sizes can be maintained, which is especially important for species of concern, such as the Jefferson and spotted salamanders.

 

Seeking a more long-term solution to the amphibian road mortality problem at the Amphibian Crossing Project’s top site, ENSP has finally secured funding to construct crossing structure system for amphibians to move safely across Waterloo Road in Byram Township, Sussex County. This system, including under-road tunnels and guide fencing, will help amphibians avoid problems on the road all season long. CWF is preparing its second year of monitoring along Waterloo Road to track the changes in amphibian vehicle-caused mortality before and after this system is installed.

 

Leopard Frogs: A New Program for a New Species

This year marks the launch of CWF’s Kauffeld’s Calling Frogs program. Similar to New Jersey’s Calling Amphibian Monitoring Program (CAMP), volunteers will listen and document frog calls during the breeding season. Kauffeld’s Calling Frogs, however, will focus specifically on the newly discovered mid-Atlantic coast leopard frog. This frog, named after the late avid herpetologist Carl Kauffeld, had been mistaken as a member of the southern leopard frog species for decades. Only recently was it determined to be a separate species with unique habitat requirements.

 

Despite only being an official species since 2014, it is already considered a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in New York, and may be declining from other portions of its range. CWF biologists are eager to document the current extent of this frog’s range within New Jersey in order to monitor the population for possible declines. Knowing where this species is found is the foundation for future research into its habitat needs and threats.

 

Getting the Public Involved

These amphibian programs cannot move forward without the dedication of CWF volunteers. Over 100 volunteers have been involved with the Amphibian Crossing Project, and a dozen more dedicated at least a day a week for months to monitor Waterloo Road amphibian mortality. With the success of CAMP in mind, this first year of Kauffeld’s Calling Frogs promises to be full of new frog population discoveries.

 

Make sure to follow CWF on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest updates on our amphibian programs as the season progresses!

 

And consider supporting our YouCaring amphibian campaign here: https://www.youcaring.com/conservewildlifefoundationofnewjersey-1091698 .

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