Conserve Wildlife Blog

Archive for the ‘Raptors’ Category

An Osprey Rescue

Monday, July 17th, 2017

By Meghan Kolk, CWF Wildlife Biologist

I would like to take the time to share a noteworthy event from last week, as well as highlight a CWF volunteer who deserves recognition for his dedication to wildlife.  CWF received a call last Friday from a concerned citizen about an osprey chick that had fallen from its nest in Avalon.  Osprey chicks are extremely vulnerable to summer storms, and are often blown right from their nests in strong winds.  The storm that pushed through the area Thursday night had likely blown this chick out of its nest onto the marsh below.  This particular nest had just been surveyed on July 6 and had contained three young chicks.

osprey chick down on marsh after severe storms

Often when staff members are not available to respond to calls like this, we rely on our volunteers to represent us.  In this case, when CWF volunteer John King got the call, he hooked up his boat and immediately headed out to assess the situation in hopes of making a rescue.  When he arrived on the scene, John realized that there were actually three osprey chicks on the ground below the nest; however, two of them were unfortunately already deceased.  The parents were also sitting on the ground with the one surviving chick when he arrived.  John picked up the chick and examined it for injuries.  When he determined it was in good condition, he carried it up a ladder and placed it back into the nest as the parents circled and screamed above him.  As he left the site, the parents immediately returned to the nest to check on their chick.

Osprey chick returned to the safety of it’s nest

Even though John was only able to save one of the three chicks, this was still a success story that would not have been possible without the help of a devoted volunteer.  The concerned citizens who had called in the emergency watched the whole rescue from across the lagoon and reported back the following day that the chick was sitting up in the nest looking healthy.  CWF also greatly appreciates citizens who care enough to observe wildlife responsibly and report wildlife emergencies when necessary.

Adult returns to nesting platform after chick is safely returned to nest.

John King has been volunteering for CWF for many years and has worked on several projects including the Calling Amphibian Project, NJ Tiger Salamander project and the NJ eagle project.  He has been very involved with the NJ osprey project, headed by CWF’s Ben Wurst, assisting with osprey surveys during the breeding season and helping to construct and erect nest platforms over the winter.  In addition to CWF, John also volunteers with many other conservation organizations and is always happy to lend a hand.  Although he is retired, his volunteer work is practically a full time job. I sincerely admire John’s continued enthusiasm and his dedication to wildlife, and I believe the world would be a better place if there were more people like him.

Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ thanks you, John!

 

“Jersey Girl” Update

Monday, June 19th, 2017

B/64 and mate have a successful 2017 nesting season.

CWF Biologist: Larissa Smith

B/64 & mate@ L. Oughton

In 2014 I first heard from Linda Oughton who watches an eagles in nest near Montgomery, PA. The female in the pair is a NJ banded bird, B/64, nick named “Jersey Girl”. She was banded in 2004 at the Hopewell West nest along the Cohansey River in Cumberland County.

This season Jersey Girl and her mate raised and fledged three chicks. Linda reports that they have fledged a total of 14 chicks since they first started nesting in 2010. It isn’t often that we know what happens to one of NJ eagles and we can only know if they were banded as chicks.  Unfortunately many of the NJ banded eagles that are reported to us are either injured or dead. But in recent years re-sightings of green banded NJ birds are more common and we are aware of NJ banded eagles nesting in NJ as well as NY and CT.

B/64’s 3 chicks in nest 6/1/17 @L. Oughton

To Learn More:

Fallen Eagle Nest, Leads To Eagle Rescue

Saturday, June 10th, 2017

and one lucky eagle chick.

Larissa Smith, CWF Biologist

Friday afternoon before Memorial Day weekend I received a call from one of the Eagle Project volunteers, Heiki Poolake. A nest which him and his wife Donna monitor, had fallen out of the tree and the chick was on the ground. The chick was approximately 9 weeks old so still several weeks away from fledging (leaving the nest). On the ground the chick was susceptible to predators. While the adults were in the area and keeping an eye on the chick they most likely weren’t feeding the chick on the ground.  One option would be to build some type of “nest” back up in the nest tree. That option would require a climber and their weren’t any available. The next option was to install an osprey platform at the site and place the chick in the platform. We have done this successfully in the past when an eagle nest had fallen.

Eagle chick on ground 5/26/17@ D. Poolake

ENSP Principal biologist Kathy Clark, CWF volunteer Matt Tribulski , the Poolakes and myself all met out at the site.  The platform was installed close to the original nest tree with extended perches to allow the chick to “branch”.  It was determined that the chick was in good health, no broken bones or other issues from the fall. The chick was banded with a silver federal band and a green NJ Band E/50. Measurements were taken which helped to determine that the chick was a female and almost 9 weeks of age. She was fed some fish since we were unsure when she was last fed and placed in the nest platform along with more fish.

The Poolakes went out the next day and found her once again down on the ground and placed her back in the nest.  The fish we had left were gone which was a good sign she was eating. She remained in the nest until  June 8th when she was perched on the branch of a near by tree.  Both adults were also perched close by, keeping an eye on her.  At this point she was approximately 11 weeks old around the time when chicks her age start to branch and practice flying. She’ll stay in the area for the next few weeks with the adults as she learns to hunt on her own and strengthen her wings.  The first year is tough for eagles as they learn to survive on their own. We wish E/50 luck and hope to see her nesting in NJ someday.

The Drama Continues at the Union County Peregrine Falcon Nest

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

by Jenae Shaw, Education Coordinator

Male Peregrine UCNJ

The peregrine falcon pair that took up residence on top of the Union County Courthouse in Elizabeth NJ laid their first egg on March 22. Shortly after, an intruding peregrine falcon caused the pair to defend their territory, leaving the resident female with injuries following the altercation that lasted on and off for several days. Despite her injuries, the resident female laid a second egg. Periodic sightings of the intruder, who was confirmed as female 91/BA (Cadence) from Rochester NY, continued throughout the week. On March 29 following an excruciating battle – for those watching and certainly for the falcons involved – the intruder was chased off.

Territorial battles like these force peregrine falcons to exert a tremendous amount of energy and undergo a great deal of stress – neither of which are beneficial to the eggs. Although male and female peregrine falcons take turns incubating the eggs, the female peregrine falcon is typically responsible as the primary means of incubation. Unfortunately, constant provocation from the intruding female kept the resident female off the eggs for extended periods of time.

On April 4th around 5:30 pm, Kathy Clark, ENSP Zoologist, was watching the live feed and witnessed 91/BA hit the resident female with a devastating blow – she has not been seen since.

The intruding female, having successfully won the territory and the affection of the resident male, did not waste any time familiarizing herself with her new surroundings. In a surprising turn of events, 91/BA adopted the 2 eggs from the previous female and laid 3 more of her own.

Unfortunately, we now know that the two eggs laid by the former resident female are not viable and will not hatch. The adults will continue to take turns incubating all five eggs. Incubation appears to be very consistent, so if all goes well hatching should take place sometime between May 30 – June 3. Stay tuned!

Union County Falcon Cam

Photo from the Field

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017
#NotAnOsprey

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Moments before removing the two week old bald eagle nestling from its nest.

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