Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘birds’

NJ.com: Number of birdstrikes on the rise in N.J.

Friday, December 7th, 2018
Story by Ted Sherman, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Photo Credit: NJ.com

Nearly 10 years ago, a US Airways flight out of New York’s LaGuardia Airport memorably ended up in the Hudson River after striking a flock of Canada geese and losing engine power just northeast of the George Washington Bridge.

The passengers and flight crew survived the so-called “Miracle on the Hudson.” But each year, thousands of planes meet up with birds and other wildlife, and those numbers are growing in New Jersey.

In 2017, there was 366 reports of wildlife strikes in New Jersey. That was up from 326 in 2016. Among those incidents included a September 2017 crash of an ultralight aircraft in Cumberland County, after its pilot was forced to bank hard after a flock of small birds entered his flightpath. A moment later, a larger bird struck the support cable on his right wing and he tried to touch down to check for damage. Hitting the ground hard, the kite-like plane was substantially damaged.

David Wheeler, executive director of the Conserve Wildlife Foundation  of New Jersey, said the increasing number of bird strikes in New Jersey  may be a matter of better reporting, as well as the increasing number of flights in the Northeast.

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Falcon on LBI bridge perishes, but peregrines’ progress continues

Saturday, August 4th, 2018
by The Sandpaper

File Photo by: Ryan Morrill

“Northside Jim” Verhagen regularly monitors the peregrine falcon family that resides in and around a new nesting platform in the marsh to the south of the eastbound stretch of the Dorland J. Henderson Bridge. Early last week, after the sole fledgling, named Blue Bonnet, was found dead on the roadway there, he believes her parents, Bridgeboy and Jo Durt, demonstrated mourning. “They do a certain call,” said Verhagen. “Jo Durt landed on the pier with her mate, which is very unusual.”

Despite the young peregrine’s death, as Ben Wurst, habitat program manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, pointed out, “This is still kind of a success story.”

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Falcon Comeback Continues in Union County

Wednesday, May 9th, 2018

By Jasmine Lee, CWF Education Assistant

Spring has sprung, and peregrine falcon eggs have hatched! Viewers of our Union County Falcon Cam have enjoyed an exciting few days with the last of the four eyasses (baby falcons) emerging yesterday.

The adult female falcon 91/BA (“Cadence”) originally hails from Rochester, New York. She staked her claim on this nest last year and laid eggs very late last season, but the eyasses did not survive. This year, 91/BA got a timely start, with her first egg being laid on March 29, 2018. Incubation of her clutch of four eggs began on April 3.

While peregrine falcon feathers provide excellent insulation, it can be difficult for body heat to get past the feathers and to the eggs. An adaptation for this is the brood patch on the male’s and female’s chest. This patch has a high concentration of blood vessels close to the surface of their skin to allow for easier and better body heat transfer to the eggs.

After about 32 days, it is time for hatching to begin. The chicks begin by using a small “egg tooth” to peck a hole through the egg shell: this is called the external pip. After breaking the membrane, the chick can breathe some fresh air, and vigorously start the final process of hatching.

Around 8 AM on Saturday, May 5, the first eyas at Union County emerged! As we watch over the next few weeks, we will see a lot of activity in the nest as the parents work hard to feed the hungry chicks. The eyasses are completely dependent upon the adults and will eat an incredible amount, but they typically double in size in just six days! They will continue to be under constant care until they are ready to fly in approximately seven weeks.

An Inspiring Recovery

A peregrine hunts on the wing. ©Brian Kushner

In 2017 there were 34 nesting pairs of peregrine falcons were reported in all of New Jersey. Around two-thirds are known to have made their homes in buildings like the County Courthouse.

Until recent decades, the peregrine falcon population was in steep decline along with other birds of prey due to habitat loss and the pesticide DDT. By 1964, peregrine falcons had disappeared completely from New Jersey and all other states east of the Mississippi River.

Peregrine falcons were one of the first birds to be the focus of conservation efforts after the 1960’s.

In the 1980’s an intensive re-introduction effort began in the tri-state region, with biologists from the Endangered and Nongame Species Program and CWF leading the way in New Jersey. Since 2000 the New Jersey population has stabilized at approximately two dozen nesting pairs annually.

Livestreaming in Union County

2018 marks CWF’s second year partnering with Union County, providing a live stream of the action in and around the peregrine falcon nest located on the roof of the County Courthouse in midtown Elizabeth. CWF is proud to share the excitement in livestreaming the UCNJ Falcon Cam on our website and to use the webcam in our Union County school presentations, generously funded by Phillips 66.

Go to our website today to watch our new feathered friends as they continue to interact, and to learn more about the Peregrine Falcon. For more information about peregrine falcons, you can also visit the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Fish & Wildlife.

Tierra del Fuego: The View from Above

Saturday, March 24th, 2018

Just above and to the right of the plane shadow, thousands of shorebirds gather. Photo by Joe Smith

CWF scientists recently returned from a trip to Tierra del Fuego where they studied red knots and other migratory shorebirds that spend the month of May at New Jersey’s Delaware Bayshore.

CWF consultant Joe Smith captured some incredible aerial images of the coastline holding a flock of thousands of shorebirds in his blog story. See more photos of the flock and read Joe’s introductory overview about the trip here. Stay tuned for more installments about this vital trip.

NJ.com Video: Duke Farms Eagle Cam highlights bald eagles’ recovery

Friday, March 2nd, 2018

by David Wheeler

NJ.com reporter Alexis Johnson at Duke Farms in Hillsborough

Conserve Wildlife Foundation has long partnered on the famed Eagle Cam at Duke Farms in Hillsborough, which has thrilled over 13 million viewers since it started.

In this video, NJ.com reporter Alexis Johnson covers the state’s longest running Eagle Cam with an interview with Duke Farms Executive Director Michael Catania.

Bald eagles have nested at Duke Farms since 2005. Currently the pair has laid two eggs in this nest, with the first egg laid on Valentines Day this year.

From just a single nest remaining in the state in the late 1970s and early 1980s, bald eagles have recovered to over 170 nests, thanks largely to scientists and volunteers from the New Jersey Endangered and Nongame Species Program and Conserve Wildlife Foundation.

You can watch the NJ.com video here.

The Duke Farms Eagle Cam can be found here, and author Jim Wright’s e-book “Duke Farms’ Bald Eagles” provides some fascinating additional information about this nest.

CWF’s Bald Eagle webpage and annual Bald Eagle report details the story of bald eagles in New Jersey, with a number of other helpful links.

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