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Archive for the ‘Wildlife News’ Category

Eagles In Every County: NJDEP Posts 2020 Bald Eagle Press Release

Thursday, January 7th, 2021


by Ethan Gilardi, Wildlife Biologist

Photo by Northside Jim

2020 was a record breaking year for Bald Eagles in New Jersey. Going from just one recorded nest in 1980, New Jersey’s Bald Eagles hit three major milestones this year in terms of new nests, locations and total nests monitored.

A record 36 new eagle nests were found in 2020. 22 nests were found in southern New Jersey, seven in northern New Jersey, and seven in central New Jersey.

This means that Bald Eagle are now confirmed to nest in every county in the state!

An astounding (and record breaking) 220 nesting pairs of eagles were also monitored in 2020. These pairs produced a total of 307 eaglets, with an additional 28 nesting pairs tracked to nests, but laying no eggs. Of the 210 known-outcome nests, an average of 1.46 young were produced per nest, exceeding the productivity rate necessary to maintain a stable population of 1.0 young per nest.

These numbers could not have been achieved or documented without the dedicated efforts of the almost one hundred volunteers with the Bald Eagle Nest Monitor program, managed by the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ in partnership with the Endangered and Nongame Species Program. These volunteers conduct the majority of the nest-observation work vital to the Endangered and Nongame Species Program in tracking the population and nest distribution of our state’s Bald Eagles.

“The comeback of the bald eagle in New Jersey ranks among the most inspiring recoveries of endangered wildlife species anywhere,” said David Wheeler, Executive Director of the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ. “The bald eagle’s return illustrates what is possible for many other rare species when you bring together proactive wildlife management, strong public investment, and the unparalleled dedication of biologists and volunteers.”

CWF thanks our dedicated volunteers and partners who make our bald eagle conservation work possible, including PSE&G, Wakefern Food Corp./ShopRite Stores, P&G, Wells Fargo, Mercer County Parks, Wildlife Center Friends, the American Eagle Foundation, and the Zoological Society of New Jersey.

Click here to read the full NJDEP press release.

Learn more about CWF’s Bald Eagle Project & read the annual Bald Eagle Project Reports by clicking here.

Learn about tracking Bald Eagles through New Jersey EagleTrax by clicking here.

Learn more about Bald Eagles in CWF’s Field Guide by clicking here.

Humpback Whale Spotted Last Week in Hudson River

Monday, December 14th, 2020

by Ethan Gilardi, Assistant Biologist

The Statue of Liberty had a surprise tourist last week!

A humpback whale was spotted in the Hudson River on December 7th & 8th in the vicinity of Liberty Island. Video and photos of the whale were posted to Twitter as boaters took notice of the large marine mammal.

New York City Parks Department confirmed the citing on their social media on Tuesday:

“Whale sightings have increased in recent years in N.Y.’s waterways. Reasons for the uptick may include an improvement in local water quality, & an abundance of food sources like Atlantic menhaden.”

New York City Parks Department

Marine wildlife education group, Gotham Whale, also posted about the sighting, tracking the animal during it’s visit and urging boaters to exercise caution while traveling on the Hudson.

Humpback whales are a rare sight in the Hudson, but are hard to miss due to their size and perchance to show off by frequently surfacing and breaching. The last humpback to find it’s way to the Hudson was in 2016, when a humpback took up a week long residence in the busy waterway.

Learn more about these amazing creatures in CWF’s field guide!

CBC Radio Canada Highlights CWF in Story on Horseshoe Crabs in COVID Vaccine Tests

Sunday, December 13th, 2020

by Ethan Gilardi, Assistant Biologist

Photo by: Joe Reynolds

CBC Radio Canada program “The Current” interviewed Conserve Wildlife Foundation executive director David Wheeler for its feature on the fascinating story of New Jersey’s horseshoe crabs playing an irreplaceable role in the urgent search for an effective COVID-19 vaccine.

Conservationists are raising concerns that horseshoe crabs and the shorebirds that feed on them could become unexpected casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The milky blue blood of this ancient animal has made it into a modern medical marvel,” David Wheeler, executive director of the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, said of the horseshoe crab.

The medical industry captures the critters to draw out some of their blood, because it contains a unique component called limulus amebocyte lysate, or LAL. LAL can detect harmful toxins in vaccines — including those being produced for COVID-19 — or other medicine undergoing testing, he told The Current‘s Matt Galloway

“It’s really extraordinary,” said Wheeler. “The concern now, of course, is at some point we would really like to see it shift to a synthetic alternative rather than continuing to only use the crabs for that.”

Part 2: An eagle nest reinstalled

Thursday, December 10th, 2020

by: CWF biologist Larissa Smith

In Part one of this blog series the Three Bridges eagle nest was removed from the transmission tower. The tower was then dismantled. The next step was the installation of the new tower. This tower design is different then the old tower which had a lattice structure on top where the eagles built their nest. Since this new tower didn’t have have the same structure to support a nest, an eagle nest platform was designed and built .

During the entire procedure the Three Bridges eagle nest monitors recorded the eagle pairs activities. They were often perched on the nearby towers watching the activity. Nest monitor Mary Ellen Hill saw one of the eagles fly over to the new pole and hover above before flying back to another tower.

eagle hovering over arm of new tower 12/29/20@ Mary Ellen Hill

On a cold, snowy day the eagle nest was placed into the nest platform. The nest platform was then hoisted up to the arm of the tower and bolted in place. Now we wait and see if the pair will return and nest in their “old” nest on the new nest platform and tower.

Thank you to all the Eagle Project volunteers who monitor this nest and PSE &G employees who have worked hard to finish this project before eagle nesting season.

CWF In The News: WOBM 92.7 highlights Great Bay turtle garden

Monday, December 7th, 2020
A female terrapin pauses while crossing Great Bay Blvd in Little Egg Harbor, NJ.

Shawn Michaels from WOBM News 92.7 recently visited the Conserve Wildlife Foundation and New Jersey Fish & Wildlife managed Great Bay Terrapin Habitat Enhancement Project and took the time to share his thoughts and some pictures from his visit.

Thank you Shawn for spreading information about our project and sharing these wonderful photos of the turtle garden!

You can read an except from the article below.

Photo by Shawn Michaels

If you live here at the Jersey Shore then there is a good chance you have seen a turtle or two trying to cross the road. This project ”turtle gardens” is located on the bay in Little Egg Harbor Township on Seven Bridges Road. The purpose is to give area turtles a place to lay eggs that’s out of harm’s way.

This is a fantastic project to help turtles which often are hit by cars trying to find areas to lay eggs. You may have seen signs around the Jersey Shore ”turtle crossing” to alert you to watch for turtles on area roadways usually late spring through summer.

Click here to read more: This is a fantastic project the ”Turtle Garden”