Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey’

Stormy Spring Impacts Osprey Productivity

Tuesday, November 15th, 2022

by Ben Wurst / Habitat Program Manager

An osprey nest with hatchlings on May 16, 2022. One of many nests that eventually failed to produce young this year.

Whenever we look at how ospreys are faring, weather is always taken into account. When we summarize and report on the results of our summer osprey nesting surveys, we also look at the local climate. Being situated along the Atlantic coast, our weather is influenced by the ocean. As aerial predators of fish, ospreys are reliant on favorable water conditions to forage.

Preliminary results of the 2022 New Jersey Osprey Project Census show that the osprey population was not as productive this year as they have been over the past ~20 years. This was largely due to a low pressure system (nor’easter) that stalled off the coast in early May — when the majority of pairs were incubating eggs. The strong onshore winds caused moderate coastal flooding, windy conditions, increased wave action and water turbidity, which made it more difficult for ospreys to find and catch prey in coastal waters. Males do 100% of the foraging from the onset of egg laying until young begin to fledge, so when they are unable to provide food, females must abandon their nests and eggs to forage for themselves. The nor’easter in May appears to have affected the outcome of many coastal nests and in some cases, complete colonies. Of course there are many other causes for nest failure but this year weather played a major role.

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Leave The Leaves This Fall

Thursday, October 6th, 2022

By Leah Wells


Once leaves fall to the ground, leave them be! Deciding not to rake, blow, and dispose of your leaves not only benefits native wildlife but provides nourishment to your garden and lawn. 

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A New Jersey First: Hawk Raised by Eagles

Tuesday, August 16th, 2022

By: Susan Harrison, NJ Bald Eagle Project Volunteer

I am a volunteer eagle nest monitor for New Jersey’s Bald Eagle Project. A new nest was discovered in central New Jersey this year by birder Chris Brown. Larissa Smith, the volunteer coordinator for the Bald Eagle Project and Conserve Wildlife Foundation asked me to monitor this nest. I did not know at the beginning of nesting season, what an interesting story would unfold!
In mid-April, by watching the behavior of the adult eagles, I could see that eggs had hatched and that the adults were feeding eaglets that were still too small to see. At the beginning of May I caught glimpses of the head of one eaglet peeking up over the top of the nest rails. Too cute! By the end of May, I could see the head of a second chick in the nest. But this chick looked very different! I soon discovered this chick looked different because it was not a Bald Eagle at all! It was a red-tailed hawk chick in the eagles’ nest! I could not believe what I was seeing! I took lots of photos to document this situation, a first for New Jersey! I consulted with two respected birders in the state, Chris Brown, who is a county eBird reviewer and Tim Brown, to help verify and document my observations for CWF and the NJ DEP/ENSP. We observed the adult eagles feeding both the red-tailed hawk chick and the bald eagle chick. It was one big happy family, with both chicks getting along with each other and with the adults quite well.

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Special Guests During Bat Survey Nights

Wednesday, August 10th, 2022

by Leah Wells

The Bat Team setting up a mist-net in the Pine Barrens

Surveying for bats means staying up late and spending a lot of time in the dark. Our evenings begin a few hours before sunset, giving us just enough time to set up for the night. We start off by scouting locations to set up our mist-nets which we use to capture bats. These fine nets, ranging from 8 – 30 ft across and 16 ft high, are attached to tall poles stationed along corridors which bats often use to forage for food. With our nets ready to be deployed, we use the last of the daylight to set up our work station where we will process the bats we hopefully catch.

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Thank You Cathy and Jeff White for Helping New Jersey’s Eagles Thrive.

Thursday, August 4th, 2022

by Larissa Smith, CWF Biologist

New Jersey Eagle Project nest monitors Cathy and Jeff White have been volunteering with the program since 2009. The 2022 eagle nesting season was officially their last as they will be “retiring.” When they started with the bald eagle project, they had two eagle nests that they monitored in Southern New Jersey. As of 2022 they were monitoring 25 eagle nests. That is a lot of nests to keep straight! During their 14 years of observing nesting behavior to determine egg laying, hatching, and fledging, a total of 244 eagle chicks fledged from their nests. The Whites have witnessed the eagle population grow over the years and have played a large role in the success of the eagles, including many rescues of both chicks and adults. Their dedication to the eagles through both the good and bad outcomes, is commendable and they are irreplaceable.

They have done so much for the eagle project and will be greatly missed. Thank you!

Photos taken by the Whites throughout their years of monitoring eagle nests.