Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘2020’

Monitoring New Jersey Ospreys During a Global Pandemic

Friday, February 5th, 2021
For every dark day there was always hope for a brighter future. Results from the 2020 New Jersey Osprey Project.

Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

This was likely one of the most challenging, at least in recent years, in the history of the New Jersey Osprey Monitoring Project. From social distancing and working from home (with children) to severe wind events and dealing with the impacts of humans on ospreys, 2020 turned out to be quite the year. Overall, our work was largely unaffected by the global covid-19 pandemic. Most of our work is conducted outdoors and away from mass gatherings of people. It was important for us to ensure the safety of our volunteers and the general public safe.

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#Thankful

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.

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Part 1: An Eagle Nest Removed

Monday, November 23rd, 2020

by Larissa Smith, CWF Biologist

April 21, 2020, Three Bridges adult with 2 chicks@ Daniel Kroon

The following was written by NJ Eagle Project volunteer, Daniel Kroon. He monitors this nest along with several other dedicated volunteers whose photos are featured in this blog.

The Three Bridges (Hunterdon County) eagle nest is located on the top arm of an electric transmission tower. This pair has successfully nested on the tower for the past five years. This line of towers is scheduled to be replaced with new monopoles and the work on it has recently begun. PSE&G is cooperating with the NJ Bald Eagle program to move this nest to a new pole platform. Unfortunately, the pair is already on territory and have been observed bringing a stick to the old nest. It is an interesting story of how these eagles are adapting to the human-created environment and how we are trying to accommodate them.

The pair at nest October 17, 2020 before work begins @ Mary Ellen Hill

On November 4, PSE&G removed the top of the tower, keeping the nest intact, and lowered it to the ground where they carefully removed the nest from the tower structure. The nest is stored in a shed and will be re-installed on a platform affixed to the new tower when it is erected. We hope the eagle pair accept their remodeled home.

The evening of the nest removal, volunteer Mary Ellen Hill observed the pair sitting together on the adjacent tower.

November 4th, 2020 @ Mary Ellen Hill
November 4th, 2020, pair on adjacent tower after nest removal@ Mary Ellen Hill

We will follow up with part two of this story once the new monopole tower is installed and the nest is placed back up on the platform. We thank all the nest monitors, PSE&G and everyone involved to make this as successful as possible.

Eagle Trax Update

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

by: CWF biologist, Larissa Smith

CWF along with the NJ ENSP are using NJ Eagle Trax to track, “Duke” a year and a half old eagle who was outfitted with a transmitter on May 25th 2019.

May 25, 2019. Duke with transmitter @Kathy Clark

The last update I wrote was on March 31st. and at that time Duke had headed up to his old nest site at Duke Farms and then flew back south to the Susquehanna. In April he ranged along the Susquehanna in Southern PA and the Chesapeake region in MD, he did make a quick trip up into PA and back to MD. Duke spent all of May along the Susquehanna River near the Cononwingo Dam.

On June 1st he made another big trip up to Duke Farms and his old nest site. On June 9th he started heading back south and spent the rest of the month along the Susquehanna River. He spent all of July and August along the southern section of the Susquehanna River.

The Conowingo Dam, just south of the PA/MD state line in Darlington MD, is a location that Duke has visited several times over the last few months. This is an area where eagles congregate during fall migration and the winter. It is a popular eagle viewing spot, so perhaps someone will be able to get a photo of Duke. He still has a few years left before he’ll set up his own territory and find a mate.

Photos from the Field

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020

Grounded: Resurgence of natural osprey nests

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

A ground nest with three young. photo by Ben Wurst

It’s not very common to see ospreys, a large predatory bird, nest on the ground. Despite the rarity of these sightings, it has become more common and acts as a glimpse into the past (and future), before humans dominated the landscape. Today, more and more ospreys are building nests on the ground and snags over water.

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