Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey’

Photo from the Field: Failed

Monday, June 27th, 2022

by Ben Wurst / Habitat Program Manager

An empty osprey nest on a sandbar located on Barnegat Bay.

In the coming weeks CWF staff, NJDEP Biologists, and a handful of dedicated volunteers will descend onto the coastal saltmarshes of New Jersey to conduct a census of nesting ospreys. The last census was conducted in 2017 when 668 nesting pairs was recorded. They will survey remote areas of back bays by boat. Nests are surveyed in a variety of methods, with ladders being the traditional method, which allow for closer inspection of nests and banding of young for future tracking. Other nests are surveyed from a distance using optics or cameras with telephoto lenses, a mirror, smartphone or GoPro on an extension pole and a sUAS (when operated by a FAA licensed unmanned pilot). The goal is to recorded the total number of nesting pairs throughout the State.

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Protecting Flood-Prone Communities Through Wetland Restoration

Tuesday, June 14th, 2022

by Christine Healy

Hurricane Ida. Hurricane Irene. Superstorm Sandy. These weather events represent three of the four most devasting storms recorded in New Jersey history. Though data dates back 218 years, all 3 have occurred within the past 11, substantiating concerns over the effect of climate change on tropical cyclone severity. Therefore, taking measures to safeguard communities from devastating floodwaters is more important now than it ever has been. But who said helping people can’t, in turn, help wildlife?

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Ridge Street School Kindergarteners Love Learning About New Jersey’s Wildlife

Monday, June 13th, 2022

The Kindergarteners at Ridge Street School in Newark, New Jersey, have been utilizing
Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s Soaring with STEAM curriculum in their classrooms. From
snakes and turtles to whales and woodpeckers, the students are learning all about the endangered
species that call New Jersey home as well as the unique habitats in which they reside. Each
lesson includes hands-on activities to drive home what they have learned, with all materials
provided by CWF.
Students have enjoyed using their creativity to make each lesson activity their own! They have
been given the opportunity to build snake dens, design a habitat for their favorite animals, and
practice breathing like humpback whales. Kindergarten teacher Aracelys Muniz says students
look forward to these lessons each week and call their CWF lesson days the “Best day ever!”.
By providing positive experiences for students at such a young age in the realm of wildlife
sciences, we hope to engage with and inspire the next generation of environmental stewards. Our
goal is for students to remember our lessons beyond the classroom, becoming excited to continue
learning on their own and sharing their knowledge with their friends, families, and communities.
CWF thanks PSEG Foundation, Victoria Foundation, The Merrill G. and Emita E.
Hastings Foundation, David A. and Carol B. Lackland Family Foundation, and the Zoological
Society of New Jersey for their generous support for our work with Newark Public Schools.

Piping Plover Chicks Hatch at National Guard Training Center

Monday, June 13th, 2022

by Sherry Tirgrath

Piping Plover Joey and his chick. Photo by Sherry Tirgrath

It’s officially chick season for the beach-nesting birds of New Jersey, and some of the first, fuzzy babies of the year were hatched at National Guard Training Center in Sea Girt. Piping plovers, Joey and Hamlet, laid their third nest together after first nesting at NGTC in 2019. The pair both had different partners that year, but got together in 2020 and fledged three chicks together for two years in a row. This year, the pair had the first confirmed nest in the state and diligently incubated their eggs during the entire month of May. The nest was anticipated to hatch over Memorial Day Weekend.

Just a couple days before the chicks made their appearance, tragedy struck. Hamlet was not seen for a couple days, and fear started growing that something had happened to her or she abandoned the nest, which would be very unlikely for such a devoted and successful veteran mother. When the chicks finally hatched from their eggs on May 29th and only Joey was seen tending to them, some investigating was done into Hamlet’s disappearance. Her body was found at the edge of NGTC property, likely predated by an owl or other bird of prey, as evidenced by the condition of her body. As tragic and sad as her death was, it’s a wonder that her body was found at all. In many cases, there’s no closure for piping plover disappearances. Joey was left to raise his chicks as a single father, receiving praise and encouragement from everyone following his story. 

The chicks have reached the 10-day mark as of June 8th, and appear healthy and strong. Only two have made it this far, but Joey is doing an excellent job on his own protecting them from threats and keeping them in line. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that both chicks make it to fledging, and Joey can keep up his excellent fatherhood record. It’s unknown if Joey will seek a new mate next year or retire from parenthood, but for now, we are saddened by the end of the era of Joey and Hamlet. 

Monitoring of beach-nesting birds takes time and commitment from our team of biologists and seasonal technicians. The largest piping plover breeding population in New Jersey resides at our Holgate site, where pairs, nests and hatched chicks are observed and tracked nearly every day during the nesting season. Nests north of that site are sparser and face many threats from human disturbance and high predator presence. While the coastal piping plover population is still struggling, CWF continues to fight to protect our state’s rare species and educate the public about the importance of respecting wildlife.

Union County Falcons Thrive in Urban Ecosystem

Wednesday, June 8th, 2022

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Kathy Clark carefully places a young falcon in a reusable shopping bag.

On May 23, NJDEP Fish & Wildlife Supervisory Zoologist Kathy Clark and myself visited the Union County Courthouse in Elizabeth, NJ to band the three eyases that were produced by the nesting pair of peregrine falcons. We were joined by Union County staff and guests, who assisted with the banding. The nest is located on the roof of the building. As soon as the hatch made a sound, the adults took off and started to defend their nest and flightless young. As we enter their turf, we are dive bombed by the adults — it is clear that the female has become more aggressive — as she flies very close to us on the roof in sweeping dive bomb attacks. As Kathy goes to the nest to grab each young who are placed in reusable shopping bags, I use her trusty feather duster to ward off the adult female. All who enter the roof wear fall arrest harnesses and hard hats. Kathy and I know that the hard hats are not just worn for fall protection, but also from attacks from above. Both of us received bumps from the adult female to our helmets!

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