Conserve Wildlife Blog

Project RedBand: 04/C from LBI to Trinidad and Tobago!

December 10th, 2014

Auxiliary bands help link Barnegat Bay ospreys to their wintering grounds

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

04/C was banded at a nest on LBI and re-sighted on the island of Trinidad and Tobago by Nicholas Hassanali.

04/C was banded at a nest on LBI and re-sighted on the island of Trinidad and Tobago by Nicholas Hassanali.

When I started work on Monday morning I got some amazing news (at least for an osprey lover). One of the young ospreys that I banded on Barnegat Bay was re-sighted on the Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago!! To top that cake, the osprey was photographed to confirm its sighting. YES!! Nicholas Hassanali took the above photo and enlarged the red band to read the alpha-numeric code which reads “04/C.” I looked up in my banding records and saw that 04/C was produced at a nest behind the Long Beach Island Foundation for Arts & Sciences in Loveladies, Long Beach Island.

04/C after being banded. He was around 4 weeks old on July 7, 2014.

04/C after being banded. He was around 4 weeks old on July 7, 2014.

I banded him (I can tell its a male by the size of the band on its leg and the lack of a brown necklace of feathers on its breast) on July 7th with a CWF donor Bill C. We ventured to four nests by kayak. This was the first survey where I started to deploy the red auxiliary bands on young ospreys. I remember that it was a pleasant day. Not too hot or windy. As we made our way from one sheltered nest on a lagoon to another out on the bay we felt the winds kick up from the south making paddling difficult (especially when you’re towing another kayak with a ladder on top!).

125-A-032: 04/C's nest.

125-A-032: 04/C’s nest.

We decided to return to Bill’s house and take my truck to survey the next two nests, since we could walk to them from a side street. We walked out to one nest and found that it failed, i.e. no young were produced. Then we proceeded onto the next, 04/C’s nest. I remember climbing up the ladder to band the young and did not get a chance to take any better photos because I had to be on my way soon. While up there I remember the male dropped a fish (bunker) and Bill got it and we put it back into the nest. One thing that I will not forget about this day is the smell of smoke and burning plastic. I found out later that day that a lawyer’s office in Ship Bottom was on fire when we were out surveying these nests. Luckily no one was hurt in the fire!

I personally cannot wait to get more reports of our red banded ospreys. The young that were banded this year will not return until 2016 and even then they might not return until the late spring/early summer and will not breed. At least I know that there are people out there watching and admiring our ospreys! As Nick said in a comment on his photo on Flickr, “ I have a great love for Ospreys.” 🙂

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2 Responses to “Project RedBand: 04/C from LBI to Trinidad and Tobago!”

  1. Phyllis Douglass says:

    Hi Ben – I too get excited by news of banded birds being seen in the Caribbean. I wish someone could band some of mine (I call them my feathery friends) from my back yard. I now have two eagles sitting on the platforms on the Cape Island Creek that are the summer homes of my ospreys. Life is great when you have wild life so close. please keep me in touch and remember Cape May.

  2. Ben says:

    Hey Phyllis!

    Yes, it’s always fun getting band re-sightings from osprey wintering areas. We hardly get any band recoveries from live birds as well, so using these auxiliary bands will help us track where our ospreys winter and return to nest in NJ when they’re an adult. We usually have a volunteer who surveys nests in your area (mostly Wildwood) but hopefully next year I can make a trip down there to check all the nests on Cape Island Creek. Glad to hear you’ve got eagles hanging out on the nest down there! I’ll make sure to stay in touch. Thanks so much for supporting our important work! 🙂

    Happy Holidays!! –Ben

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