Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘conservation’

Ospreys Continue to Thrive in New Jersey

Monday, February 24th, 2020

Results from 2019 Osprey Nest Surveys highlight another productive year.

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

An osprey nest in a snag on Barnegat Bay. July 2019.

Surveys of osprey nests in New Jersey have occurred annually for the past forty five years. They are conducted to help determine the overall size and health of the population. The first aerial survey over Barnegat Bay counted only five active nests. Ten years earlier there had been over 50. The combined effects of DDT and habitat loss had taken their toll. No osprey nests were productive and the population at risk of being extirpated from the state.

“In 1974 there were only five active osprey nests on Barnegat Bay. Today there are approximately one hundred and fifty.”

After ospreys were listed as endangered an innovative effort to transplant viable eggs from the Chesapeake Bay to Barnegat Bay began. In addition, to help replace natural nest sites that were lost to development, man-made nest platforms were designed and installed away from human disturbance. Slowly osprey pairs became productive thanks to the die hard effort of State biologists like Pete McLain, Kathy Clark and many volunteers and partners. It’s encouraging for us to look back to see how far we’ve come in the statewide recovery of ospreys in New Jersey.

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My Summer Adventure with Osprey

Sunday, October 6th, 2019

by Marissa Murdock, 2019 NJ Osprey Project Intern; Rider University ’21

Marissa holds osprey 83/K who was banded after pre-maturely fledging and landing on the ground.

This past summer I was lucky enough to work with Conserve Wildlife Foundation as a volunteer student intern. I worked alongside Ben Wurst, CWF’s Habitat Program Manager, helping with the New Jersey Osprey Project. My internship consisted of assisting with osprey surveys, banding young, and recording data so that we can estimate the health of the population in New Jersey. 

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Video from the Field: Osprey Platform Install

Thursday, November 15th, 2018
Ensuring Osprey Platforms Remain Resilient

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

On a brisk November morning, a couple dedicated NJ Osprey Project volunteers joined myself and CWF Biologist Larissa Smith to install an osprey platform on the coastal saltmarsh of New Jersey. The new platform was installed to replace a very old and unstable platform that fell this summer. The new structure is more than twice the size of the old one and will give the nesting pair, who return in the spring, a much more resilient nest site. As you can see from the video above, it takes a bit of strength to raise up a 16′ tall wood nest platform. We decided to slow it down when WCC Volunteer, Wayne R. gives it a final push. (more…)

Reducing Roadkills of Terrapins in S. Ocean County

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018
Dedicated volunteers help reduce mortality of adult female terrapins

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Volunteers Elizabeth and Courtney measure the height of a female terrapins carapace.

Now that Northern diamondback terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin terrapin) are officially considered a nongame species, our work to help conserve breeding adult females is more justifiable. Before July 2016, adult terrapins, including egg bearing females, could be harvested during an open season from November to March. With that said, it was troublesome to know that a 15+ year old female that you helped safely cross a road in summer, could be harvested, shipped to Asia and eaten only a few months later… Now, we can rest (somewhat) easy knowing that the hard work of our dedicated volunteers will live on and help the population grow (there are still many threats to terrapins including collisions with boats, vehicles, poaching, drowning in ghost crab pots, etc…) (more…)

Osprey Numbers Surge Above Post-DDT Milestone

Monday, January 22nd, 2018
Statewide Census Documents over 650 nesting pairs in New Jersey

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

An osprey prepares to land on a natural nest. Barnegat Bay, NJ.

Since we began to work more closely with ospreys in 2006, we have documented the population grow beyond the historic population estimate of 350-450 nesting pairs (Henny 1977) to a new historic milestone. In 2017, a total of 668 active nests were recorded during a statewide census of nesting ospreys, which is well above the post-DDT milestone of 500 nesting pairs, and show that the population continues to grow. This is the second census conducted without the use of manned aircraft since 2009 after all known osprey nests were released and mapped online in 2013. Despite the lack of aircraft, we’re still able to obtain an accurate representation of the size and health of the statewide population, while reducing the overall project cost. (more…)