Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘2023’

2023: NJ Eagle Project Volunteer Photos

Thursday, July 27th, 2023

by: Larissa Smith, Senior Biologist

photo by Dallas Hetherington

NJ Eagle Project Volunteers monitor nests during the nesting season. Since they spend a lot of time observing the nest and eagles behavior they get to see some pretty interesting things and many of them are able to document with photos. I asked volunteers to send me their three favorite photos from the eagle nesting season. Thank you to all the eagle project volunteers for their dedication

Enjoy the slideshow.

Brood Reduction: New Jersey Osprey Cams Shine Light on Prey Availability

Tuesday, July 18th, 2023

by Ben Wurst, Senior Wildlife Biologist

Depending on where you look and who you talk to, the fate of many osprey nests might bring tears to your eyes. Since a nor’easter impacted the coast with strong onshore winds for several days, young ospreys have been dying of starvation in plain sight. Over the past week, several reports of adults who abandoned their nests with young have been received. This year, weather has impacted the availability of fish and outcomes of nests in the Garden State.

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A Day in the Life of a Shorebird Steward

Thursday, June 1st, 2023

By: Cara Franceschini, CWF Summer 2023 Intern

In the May 16th blog, Shorebird Stewards On the Bay in May, it’s mentioned that some beaches along the Delaware Bay have restricted access every year from May 7th to June 7th. This is due to the migratory shorebirds that travel thousands of miles and need a place to stop to feed. Our beaches contain excellent food sources to help birds gain weight to continue their journey- horseshoe crab eggs. They are filled
with fat and protein. The Delaware Bay is the largest spawning area for horseshoe crabs in the world!

Now what do the Shorebird Stewards, such as myself, do all day? We monitor our assigned
beaches and educate the public about this incredible phenomenon! My favorite beaches are
Roosevelt Blvd. beach and Cook’s Beach because I see the most active flocks of shorebirds at
these locations.


A group of the infamous Red Knots: Calidris canutus, Semipalmated Sandpipers: Calidrus pusilla,
and Ruddy Turnstones: Arenaria interpres, at the beach on Roosevelt Blvd., photo: C. Franceschini

On a quiet day with not many people to educate, there are many things for us Stewards to do.
Some Stewards read their books, watch movies, listen to music/podcasts, color/paint, take
walks, research, etc. I do all of the above! Since we have a love for these special shorebirds,
most Stewards also birdwatch! It’s a must to bring your binoculars or scope to observe these
beautiful birds. Sometimes, you observe other interesting animals, too!

Another activity to do in the down-time is to flip the spawning Atlantic Horseshoe crabs, Limulus
polyphemus
, back onto their legs so they can crawl back into the bay. When the tide rise, these
crabs get overturned by the waves and have no way of returning back to their feet! Personally,
this is my favorite activity to do. When you return after your “crab walk”, you get to see the
tracks of their feet traveling back into the bay where they belong. Below on the left is a picture of
flipped and rescued crabs: the one on the left is a male who decided to bury himself in the sand
to preserve water until the tide comes back in, and the one on the right is a male who decided to
make the trek back into the bay. When the tide comes in, the horseshoe crabs come up
and begin spawning. Pictured below in the middle is an example of how crowded the beaches
get with these creatures! On the right, is a photo of a tagged crab I found, and reported it to
the US Fish and Wildlife Service so that they can collect data on the tagged crabs.

You can also get involved with helping these critters! “Return the Favor” is an organization
dedicated to conducting beach walks to flip overturned horseshoe crabs on the NJ beaches of the Delaware Bay. You can join public walks that are held by walk leaders or sign up to be a volunteer
and conduct your own walk (until July 15th, 2023 or next year). I am a volunteer and walk leader
and it is one of my favorite things to do. Flipping horseshoe crabs is such a special event
because that means you’re saving those crabs so they can continue to spawn and produce eggs
for the shorebirds. With your help, you could help save hundreds of crabs just by flipping
them over! Of course I had to capture this special moment of me flipping a crab (picture below)!

On these walks, you experience much more than just crabs. You get to see other wildlife that
emerges during dusk or dawn. You can also go on the closed beaches to save the crabs that
can’t be rescued during the day. During my walk, I got to see thousands of horseshoe crab
eggs!

History of The Duke Farms Eagle Pair

Thursday, March 2nd, 2023

by Larissa Smith, Senior Biologist

The Duke Farms eagle cam is extremely popular and just this week viewers watched as two chicks hatched. These two chicks will be watched by a multitude of viewers over the next few months as they grow to become juveniles and leave the nest. As with anything in Nature, this pair has had it’s ups and downs. I wanted to summarize the history of this pair and nest. The male is a NJ banded bird (A/59) and has been in the pair from the beginning, he is 23 years old. Interestingly, there have been several females in the pair over the years. Thank you to Duke Farms for hosting the cam and their tech team that keeps it running smoothly when issues arise. The cam location has changed as well as the cam itself over the years and the quality of the picture has improved.

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New Jersey Osprey Population Continues to Grow Despite Low Productivity

Tuesday, February 28th, 2023

by Ben Wurst / Senior Wildlife Biologist

We’re proud to release results of the 2022 New Jersey Osprey Project Survey, which documented the greatest number of nesting ospreys in the history of the project. Overall, surveys by staff and loyal volunteers recorded a total of 733 occupied nests throughout the state. The majority of ospreys (83%) continue to nest along the Atlantic coast of New Jersey with the remainder nesting along the Delaware Bay and inland locations. Surveys recorded the outcome of 73% of the known population, which allows us to present these results with confidence.

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