Conserve Wildlife Blog

Archive for the ‘Wildlife Protection’ 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.

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.

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.”

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.



Monday, November 30th, 2020

‘Tis the season for osprey nest platform repairs — and being thankful for the volunteers who make it happen!

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

AmeriCorps Watershed Ambassadors clean out nesting material from a 20-30 year old nest platform.

After migratory birds depart, leaves fall and northwest winds prevail, a small group of dedicated volunteers descend on our coastal saltmarshes. They’re there to maintain osprey nest platforms. Around 75% of our nesting ospreys rely on these wooden structures to reproduce. They were used to help jumpstart the early recovery efforts of ospreys in coastal New Jersey, where much of their native habitat was lost to development in the 1950-60s. Today many of these platforms are reaching their life span or are very close.