Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘LBI’

The Fate of Chump: Osprey 78/D

Monday, December 4th, 2017
Proof that life is never easy for young ospreys

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Ready to release Chump. RIP, Chump! photo by Northside Jim.

I thought long and hard about sharing this news, hence the delay in this post. In late October, we received news that a young osprey I banded this summer was re-sighted. It turns out that this bird was not your average young osprey, out of the 892 produced this year. This young bird hatched at a nest behind the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts & Sciences, around June 11th, a nest referred to as home to “LBI’s Most Famous Osprey Couple, Jack & Wendy.” He was banded, along with his nestlings, on July 5th. He was tagged with a red auxiliary “field readable” band: 78/D, as part of Project RedBand, which allows fellow biologists and citizen scientists the ability to identify the bird while still alive (most osprey band reports occur during mortality based events). At the time of banding, he was also given the name Chump, by Northside Jim.

A few weeks after being banded, a local resident reported a bird in distress (on the ground) at LBIF and I contacted Jim to see if he could respond. Long story short, he did and Chump was rehabbed within six weeks at Toms River Avian Care (on August 30th). After being released, we watched Chump make a strong flight around the marsh at LBIF until he flew off into the distance. We could only hope that he was strong enough to survive on his own, since he was too old for his parents to accept him back where he hatched. (more…)

Osprey 78/D: A Second Chance

Thursday, August 31st, 2017
“Chump” is rescued, rehabbed, and released

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Chump, what are you doing down there? Photo by Northside Jim.

On Sunday, July 30th I woke and checked my email early that morning. I had an urgent message from Deb Traster, who lives adjacent to the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts & Sciences (LBIF). She said that something was not right with one of the young ospreys that fledged from a nearby nesting platform where I banded three nestlings with red bands on July 5. One was on the ground and could not take off. Fearing the worst (entanglement), she checked it out and sought help. After getting in touch with me, I reached out to my buddy, Northside Jim to see if he could get there that morning. (more…)

Time to Get Muddy!

Thursday, September 8th, 2016
Volunteers needed to help maintain and repair osprey nests

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Map of nests that are in need of repairs in Absecon, NJ.

Map of nests that are in need of repairs in Absecon, NJ.

We have an obligation to care for and protect our wildlife, and for me, that’s what drew me into my current position. Osprey nesting platforms have been a focus of my work over the past 10+ years. They are designed specifically for ospreys and if built properly, can withstand the impacts of severe weather, including coastal flooding, high winds, and storm surge. For ospreys these platforms protect their nests from predators and flood tides, but over time the extreme salt marsh environment takes its toll on them. With the added weight of the large, perennial stick nests it can shorten the life span of a properly built platform drastically. Over the years I’ve seen older nests topple, from the weight of the nesting material and aging hardware, during the middle of the nesting season during severe storms. This is hard to prevent at every nest, during every storm, which we know are becoming more and more frequent, but we are adapting and in turn, helping our ospreys become more resilient (and productive) in the end.

New stainless screws are installed in an existing osprey nest to help prevent future catastrophe.

New stainless screws are installed in an existing osprey nest to help prevent future catastrophe.

In the past we (myself and other volunteers who survey ospreys and help maintain platforms) used to visit a nest only once a year, during nesting surveys in late June and early July. At that time we would note the condition of the platform and if repairs were needed, schedule those for the seven month long non-breeding season. Those who have volunteered to help and worked with me, know the task at hand. Most tasks include using hand tools to construct nest platforms and perches and to install them. I always say the hardest part is getting the platform to the saltmarsh where they will be installed.

To help engage and inspire others to help care for our growing osprey population, we are looking for volunteers who live within the watersheds were we are planning to conduct repairs of osprey platforms. Tasks vary by watershed but most are to add new (stainless) screws to existing platforms, install predator guards/perches, clean off excess nesting material, and do any other repairs to platforms (including moving and replacing some). We are hopeful to meet some local baymen and fishermen who are looking to help keep the nesting population stable as it has been over the past 10 years.

The work will occur in mid-late October and will be carried out through these watersheds:

  • Barnegat Bay (Point Pleasant south to LEHT)
  • Great Bay – All nests here need new hardware and one nest needs to be replaced.
  • Absecon Bay – In this area we have four platforms to replace. Three will be moved and one new one installed. Four other nests need critical repairs.
  • Sea Isle – several nests here need predator guards and a couple need minor repairs.
  • Wildwood/Cape May – After the strong storms in late June hit this area, many nests need new platform (tops) and others need to be cleaned off.

If you are interested in being notified when these platform construction and repairs occur, please email me. Let me know what you are interested in helping with and if you have a boat (and a ladder!) that can be used.

Photo from the Field: Saving Osprey Nest #3591

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016
Boaters urged to not approach active osprey nest inside Barnegat Inlet
by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager
 
Osprey Nest #3591

Osprey Nest #3591

Yesterday, while working on Barnegat Bay, we visited this natural nest that is behind the dyke inside Barnegat Lighthouse State Park. This is the third time we’ve passed by to monitor their success. So far, so good and it looks like they now have young in the nest. As you can see the nest is built in a precarious location on a sandbar. When the sandbar is exposed people can walk right up to the nest. Last year the pair did not raise young but people did still walk up to the nest. With young, the adults will be more defensive of their nest to protect their young.

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Unveiling the Nature Trail at LBIF

Thursday, April 21st, 2016
Enhancing public access to Barnegat Bay and its inhabitants!

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Ben Wurst describes the Nature Trail from the rooftop deck of Science Building at LBIF. Photo by Kyle Gronostajski.

Ben Wurst describes the Nature Trail from the rooftop deck of Science Building at LBIF. Photo by Kyle Gronostajski.

This past Saturday we “unveiled” the new Nature Trail at the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts & Sciences (LBIF). At the event we also conducted our first native plant sale, with lots of wildlife friendly plants, including milkweed, goldenrod, joe pye weed, bayberry, red cedar and many others. I lead guided tours along the trail to point out key features and work that we’ve done at LBIF. Our first stop was to the roof top of the Science Building, which is one of my favorite views. It provided visitors an opportunity to see what is the core foundation for our work, Barnegat Bay and some of the wildlife that we work tirelessly to protect and monitor: ospreys and northern diamondback terrapins, in particular.

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