Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘habitat’

Providing Young Forest Habitat for the Golden-winged Warbler

Friday, December 11th, 2015
CWF and partners have created or restored over 225 acres of Golden-winged warbler habitat in New Jersey since 2012

 by Kelly Triece, Private Lands Biologist

Golden Winged Warbler. Photo by D. Kenny.

Golden Winged Warbler. Photo by D. Kenny.

Take a look at this Golden-winged warbler — a Neotropical Migrant songbird that breeds in New Jersey. This songbird is a species of special conservation concern in the United States and endangered in New Jersey, experiencing population declines due to loss of young forest habitat.

 
Did you know? In the past 30 years, over 11,000 acres of upland shrub and emergent wetland habitat have been lost to succession in New Jersey. This habitat is important for Golden-winged warblers because it is their primary breeding habitat. Fortunately, their secondary habitat, upland forests, have remained stable in the state.

 

Therefore, it has been the goal of many wildlife management agencies to continue to create young forest habitat, while protecting upland forests as well.

 
Conserve Wildlife Foundation and our partners (Natural Resources Conservation Service, New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife and New Jersey Audubon Society), have worked with private landowners to create or restore over 225 acres of Golden-winged warbler habitat since 2012 in New Jersey.

 

Our managed forests have a statistically significant higher diversity of birds than unmanaged sites!

Young forest habitat managed for Golden-winged Warbler. Photo by Kelly Triece.

Young forest habitat managed for Golden-winged warbler. Photo by Kelly Triece.

Young forest habitat, also known as scrub-shrub habitat, is new or regenerating forest that is less than 20 years old. Young forest habitat is important for many birds, especially the Golden-winged warbler. The open canopy of a young forest also helps provide food such as berries and insects to newly fledged birds, wild turkey, ruffed grouse, reptiles, black bears, bobcats, and butterflies.

 

Golden-winged warbler home range

Golden-winged warbler home range

The breeding range of the Golden-winged warbler extends along the Appalachians from the northern portion of Georgia in the south to Vermont in the north. The winter range for this species is southern Mexico and Central and South America.

 

Follow us in February 2016 when biologist Kelly Triece travels to Honduras to see the Golden-winged Warbler in its winter habitat!

 

Learn more and get involved:

 

 

Kelly Triece is the Private Lands Biologist for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

Photos from the Field: Peregrine Falcon Nestbox Installation in Trenton

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015
Meeting our goals…we can only hope!

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

In 1993-94 six young peregrine falcons were released at 20 West State Street (Mary G. Roebling Building) in Trenton to help bolster the population of urban nesting falcons in the area. Currently the closest nest is 20 miles away at the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge (where they also have a camera at the nest). Twenty years later and we may finally get some nesting falcons in Trenton! It all started when Jean Bickal, a worker in the building, noticed a falcon that often perched on the building ledges. From there Kathy Clark, a Zoologist with New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife made a site visit and took measurements to see if we could fit a nestbox (dog igloo) out a window on the 10th floor, which also had a roof on it. It appeared one would fit so we setup a date to install the new nestbox.

 

Cities and urban areas actually provide suitable habitat for falcons. Urban areas usually have lots of ledges under bridges or on buildings for them to nest, and abundant prey, in the form of pigeons and other songbirds. In New Jersey we have three other pairs that nest on buildings in Jersey City, Elizabeth, and Atlantic City, plus pairs that nest on the Tacony-Palmyra, Walt Whitman, Betsy Ross, and Burlington-Bristol Bridges.

 

On February 5th we helped install a new nestbox on top of a roof at 20 W. State St. We’re hoping that the falcon seen that day will find a mate and use the nestbox to raise young. Fingers crossed that we get some good news soon!

 

Learn more:

First, we had to fit this "Dog Igloo" out the window. © Jean Bickal

After getting all our gear up to the 10th floor, we first had to fit this “Dog Igloo” out the window…  © Jean Bickal

When we got here a female peregrine falcon was perched on the ledge of the 10th floor roof! © Jean Bickal

We spotted this beautiful young female peregrine falcon on the ledge! © Jean Bickal

 © Jean Bickal

After fitting the nestbox through the window we carried it over to where it would be installed, all as the falcon watched us! © Jean Bickal

Kathy Clark, ENSP Zoologist determines the best location for the nestbox while the adult female peregrine falcon watches us.  © Jean Bickal

Kathy Clark, ENSP Zoologist determines the best location for the nestbox. We moved slowly to not spook the falcon. © Jean Bickal

What a beauty! © Jean Bickal

What a beauty! © Jean Bickal

Ben and Kathy discuss mounting and placement options. © Jean Bickal

Ben and Kathy discuss mounting and placement options. © Jean Bickal

Ben attaches the base of the igloo to some wood to weigh it down. © Jean Bickal

Ben attaches the base of the igloo to some wood to weigh it down. © Jean Bickal

Then gravel is added.  © Jean Bickal

Then gravel is added. © Jean Bickal

The top is installed and Ben mounts it to the base. © Jean Bickal

The top is installed and Ben mounts it to the base. © Jean Bickal

Can never have too much gravel! © Jean Bickal

Can never have too much gravel! © Jean Bickal

While installing the box she perched on a nearby roof top. © Jean Bickal

While installing the box she perched on a nearby roof top. © Jean Bickal

The finished product! © Jean Bickal

The finished product! © Jean Bickal

Ben Wurst is the Habitat Program Manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

Ten Things:

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010
You can do to help wildlife In your backyard

By Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Eastern red cedar berries provide food for a wide variety of songbirds. © Ben Wurst

1. Plant trees! The more the better, plant evergreens on the north-east side of your house and deciduous on the south side. Evergreens provide cover to birds and other wildlife in winter months and also shelter to your house from those cold NW winds. Make sure to choose native species like Eastern red cedar or Pitch pine for NW locations and Tulip poplar or Sweet gum for south locations.

2. Minimize use of pesticides and herbicides. Use only plant based pesticides, like ones made with Pyrethrum, which is made from the dried flower heads of Chrysanthemums. Try using vinegar as a natural alternative to broad spectrum herbicides. Do not use any pesticides or herbicides before any precipitation.

3. Use local and FREE mulch and compost. Many municipalities and county utility authorities provide free mulch to their residents. This is a great way to reuse a large portion of the waste stream in your county. Better yet, start a compost pile in your own backyard!

4. Use native species! They are acclimated to our climate and most are non-invasive. Many plants and trees sold at nurseries are meant to be aesthetically pleasing and most don’t provide suitable habitat for wildlife, besides providing cover.

5. Create a brush pile using branches and logs to provide cover for small mammals, reptiles, and songbirds.

6. Plant fruit bearing shrubs and trees. These can provide food for songbirds and other wildlife throughout the year. From eastern red-cedar and American holly to winged sumac and northern bayberry.

A Swallowtail butterfly nectars on a zinnia flower. © Ben Wurst

7. Reduce the size of your lawn by planting a wildflower garden. They require less water than cool season grasses and provide nectar to butterflies, bees and hummingbirds and also provide seeds to many songbirds. You will save money and time by reducing the amount of grass on your property.

8. Install bird and bat houses. Bird houses can provide a place for cavity nesting birds to nest, like chickadees, wrens, and bluebirds. Monitor the birdhouse throughout the spring and summer to be sure no exotic species are utilizing it, like European starlings. Maternity bat houses can provide female bats with a place to raise their young. Bats feed on thousands of insects each night. They help control insect populations and in some areas help pollinate fruit and vegetable crops.

9. Wildlife need water to survive. Put out a bird bath or even better, install a pond. A simple bird bath can be a medium-sized saucer or shallow bowl. Change the water frequently to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. Ponds are even better for wildlife, especially amphibians, like frogs, toads, and salamanders. A simple pond can be made out of an old bath tub. Place rocks along the edge, plant some flowers along the edges, and put some branches and rocks in the water to enhance the habitat in the pond.

10. Certify your yard with the National Wildlife Federation and get a yard sign to let others know you provide habitat for wildlife in your backyard!