Conserve Wildlife Blog

Archive for the ‘Shorebirds’ Category

CWF State Of Change Podcast Episode 8: Our Changing Coast

Wednesday, December 16th, 2020

by Matt Wozniak, CWF Multimedia Producer

Ocean dwelling wildlife species are among the most interesting and most valuable to humans. They fascinate us with their unique life histories and provide us with a vast fisheries resource that creates a multitude of jobs and lets us have a delicious meal of local seafood.

In this episode of our podcast State of Change, “Our Changing Coast,” we delve into how our ocean species could be affected by climate change. We interviewed Dr. Thomas Grothues, a research professor with Rutgers University who specializes in abundance and distribution of fish, as well as Joe Reynolds, the head of Save Coastal Wildlife, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting New Jersey’s coastal species and educating the public about them.

As water temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean rise, aquatic species such as fish and marine invertebrates will be among those who feel the effects first. Evidence points to many northern species becoming less frequent and many southern species becoming more frequent. This is bad news for fisheries centered around species that could become less abundant.

Like many other climate change related issues, understanding how marine species will be affected by warming waters is complicated but also fascinating. Listen to the podcast to learn more!

Click here to listen to more State of Change.

A Year-end Snapshot of CWF’s Beach Nesting Bird Season

Saturday, December 5th, 2020

By Todd Pover, Senior Wildlife Biologist

An adult Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) looks over their chick.

Piping plovers may have left New Jersey for their wintering grounds months ago, but our staff continues to be busy assessing the results of the 2020 breeding season and making plans for ways to improve outcomes next year.

As we look back, one pattern is very clear; the piping plovers nesting at sites monitored and managed by CWF did very well in 2020. This includes 39 pairs at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge (Holgate and Little Beach Units), which CWF manages on behalf of the Refuge, as well as one pair at the National Guard Training Center in Sea Girt. Collectively, these pairs fledged 68 chicks or 1.70 chicks per pair, well above the federal recovery goal of 1.50 and at near record levels for the Refuge. These pairs represent just under 40% of the statewide total, as a result the high productivity at CWF-managed sites helped drive the state’s overall success. For a detailed look at how piping plovers did statewide, click here for the recently released state report.


Survey of Beach Litter Finds Many Threats to Nesting Birds

Thursday, October 1st, 2020

by Mary Emich

Plover chick next to a seabeach amaranth plant. Photo by Alice Brennan.

Despite hundreds of trash bins conveniently located on the beach, litter is still found in the sand every day. Many people enjoy their summer days at a key beach nesting bird site in Sea Girt. Beach goers leave behind trash that litters the crucial environment. These include plastic bottles, bags, cans, wrappers, straws, fishing line, etc. Plastic pollution effects the surrounding environment and wildlife that inhabits it.

At the Sea Girt beach, piping plovers (Charadrius melodus), an endangered beach nesting bird species, travels hundreds of miles to breed and nest during the summertime. This species is directly affected by the amount of litter that pollutes the beach. Every year shore birds, and many other species, ingest plastic or get entangled in fishing line which lessens their chance of survival.

Seabeach Amaranth. Photo by Meghan Kolk.

Another significant endangered species located at Sea Girt beach is seabeach amaranth (Amaranthus pumilus). This annual plant needs a healthy ecosystem free of debris to thrive every season. It is important to maintain a strong coastal habit for reproduction and population growth.

Twenty weeks of litter was collected at the Sea Girt beach with approximately 200 plastic straws, 50 plastic bags, 75 bottles, and 25 pieces of fishing line. Pollution on the beach can be prevented if patrons are mindful of properly disposing their trash at the end of their trip.

20 weeks worth of beach trash recovered from the Sea Girt beach.

Mary Emich is an assistant biologist with Conserve Wildlife Foundation.

Beach Restoration Project Shows Promise for Piping Plovers at Barnegat Light

Saturday, July 4th, 2020
Piping plover chick feeding at the restoration-created pond.  Photo courtesy of Northside Jim.

Last winter the Conserve Wildlife Foundation, in partnership with Rutgers University, the United States Fish & Wildlife Service, and New Jersey Fish & Wildlife’s Endangered and Non-Game Species Program, completed the final stages of a beach restoration project in Barnegat Light State Park.

The project, which broke ground the winter before last, aimed to create more ideal habitat for the endangered piping plover away from human disturbance at Barnegat Light’s more recreationally busy beaches. This was accomplished by removing vegetation, grading dunes to be more suitable for nesting, and creating alternative feeding sites (i.e. ephemeral pools).

Now, with the beach nesting bird season at its peak and the final stages of the project complete, we can start to assess the effectiveness of the work that has been done.


Red knot decline confirmed by CWF research highlighted in NY Times

Friday, June 12th, 2020
Photo by Hans Hillewaert

Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s research with scientist Dr. Larry Niles was highlighted in today’s New York Times feature detailing the 80 percent decline in red knots in New Jersey’s Delaware Bay this spring.

by Jon Hurdle, The New York Times

A sudden drop in the number of red knots visiting the beaches of Delaware Bay during migration this spring has renewed concern among scientists about the survival of the threatened shore bird’s Atlantic Coast population.

According to biologists, the number of knots that stayed to feed at the bay in May declined by about 80 percent from the same time last year. The Delaware Bay is one of the world’s most important sites for shorebird migration.

Continue reading at