Conserve Wildlife Blog

Archive for the ‘osprey’ Category

Osprey Numbers Surge Above Post-DDT Milestone

Monday, January 22nd, 2018
Statewide Census Documents over 650 nesting pairs in New Jersey

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

An osprey prepares to land on a natural nest. Barnegat Bay, NJ.

Since we began to work more closely with ospreys in 2006, we have documented the population grow beyond the historic population estimate of 350-450 nesting pairs (Henny 1977) to a new historic milestone. In 2017, a total of 668 active nests were recorded during a statewide census of nesting ospreys, which is well above the post-DDT milestone of 500 nesting pairs, and show that the population continues to grow. This is the second census conducted without the use of manned aircraft since 2009 after all known osprey nests were released and mapped online in 2013. Despite the lack of aircraft, we’re still able to obtain an accurate representation of the size and health of the statewide population, while reducing the overall project cost. (more…)

Photos from the Field: Cheesequake Osprey Platform Replacement

Thursday, December 7th, 2017
Boy Scout Dylan Green gives osprey nesting platform a needed upgrade

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Dylan and his father John pose for a quick portrait in front of one of the new platforms.

This past Sunday we assisted Dylan Green, along with his family and fellow Troop 65 scouts to install three new osprey nesting platforms. The project was done by Dylan as part of his Eagle Scout Service Project. He self funded the project using his own money to purchase the supplies needed to construct the platforms and built the platforms together with his fellow Boy Scouts. The platforms were used to replace two platforms that were in bad condition. The third was installed in a location where a platform used to be located. The osprey population at Cheesequake State Park is small, but it is good habitat for ospreys. (more…)

The Fate of Chump: Osprey 78/D

Monday, December 4th, 2017
Proof that life is never easy for young ospreys

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Ready to release Chump. RIP, Chump! photo by Northside Jim.

I thought long and hard about sharing this news, hence the delay in this post. In late October, we received news that a young osprey I banded this summer was re-sighted. It turns out that this bird was not your average young osprey, out of the 892 produced this year. This young bird hatched at a nest behind the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts & Sciences, around June 11th, a nest referred to as home to “LBI’s Most Famous Osprey Couple, Jack & Wendy.” He was banded, along with his nestlings, on July 5th. He was tagged with a red auxiliary “field readable” band: 78/D, as part of Project RedBand, which allows fellow biologists and citizen scientists the ability to identify the bird while still alive (most osprey band reports occur during mortality based events). At the time of banding, he was also given the name Chump, by Northside Jim.

A few weeks after being banded, a local resident reported a bird in distress (on the ground) at LBIF and I contacted Jim to see if he could respond. Long story short, he did and Chump was rehabbed within six weeks at Toms River Avian Care (on August 30th). After being released, we watched Chump make a strong flight around the marsh at LBIF until he flew off into the distance. We could only hope that he was strong enough to survive on his own, since he was too old for his parents to accept him back where he hatched. (more…)

Photo From The Field

Monday, November 13th, 2017

CWF Volunteers Are Wildlife Heroes

NJ Osprey Project Volunteers Wayne Russell, Matt Tribulski and John King repair an osprey platform.

New Jersey ospreys have headed for warmer climates until their return in the spring. NJ osprey project volunteers are busy repairing and cleaning out nests, adding predator guards and perches in preparation for the nesting season.  It’s an endless job as there are 100’s of nesting platforms throughout the state and maintenance is always needed. These repairs keep the nests as safe as possible for the nesting ospreys.

Thank you to all the dedicated CWF volunteers!

 

Help Ensure Ospreys Have a Future in New Jersey

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

ACTION ALERT: Support ecological management of the most valuable public resource for our coastal ecosystem and economy

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Menhaden is a common food source for ospreys during their nesting season in New Jersey. Photo by Northside Jim.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is accepting public comment on the establishment of ecological management of Atlantic menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus), which is a keystone species. Basically, a keystone species is one that plays a large role in the ecosystem where it lives. If a keystone species is lost then the ecosystem would dramatically change or cease to function, causing widespread effects to other species that benefit. In New Jersey, ospreys have largely benefited from a healthy menhaden population as we’ve had relatively high reproductive rates (more than double what’s needed to sustain population) over the past decade. From 2006 to 2016, the population has grown by 30% and above the pre-DDT, historic milestone of over 500 nesting pairs. Around 82% of the state population of ospreys nests along the Atlantic Coast and we observe menhaden at a huge number of nests during our mid-summer surveys. If menhaden numbers drop, then we will likely see osprey numbers follow suite, as reproductive rates will decline, as they are in the Chesapeake Bay.

(more…)

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