Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘LBI’

Volunteer Work Day at LBIF

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

LBIF Work Day Flyer 11-20-15

Project RedBand continues on Barnegat Bay

Friday, July 24th, 2015
92 Ospreys Enlisted in Citizen Science Based Re-sighting Project

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

A young osprey was banded with a color auxiliary band: 76/C for future tracking at a nest on Long Beach Island.

A young osprey named “Danny” was banded with a color auxiliary band 76/C for future tracking at a nest on Long Beach Island. Photo by Northside Jim.

This is the critical time of year for monitoring our nesting ospreys. Each year biologists and specially trained volunteers, aka Osprey Banders, conduct ground surveys by boat to monitor the state population. They visit or survey the most densely populated colonies of nesting ospreys: Sandy Hook, Barnegat Bay, Great Bay, Absecon, Ventnor-Margate-Ocean City, Great Egg Harbor Watershed, Sea Isle, Avalon-Stone Harbor, Wildwood, Maurice River, and parts of the Delaware Bay. These surveys have been conducted since the early 1970s when ospreys were not so common, with only 50 pairs in 1973.

 

Their recovery has been quite remarkable. With an estimated 600 nesting pairs throughout the state, our ospreys are in a much better position today. Why put so much time and effort into monitoring a seemingly healthy population? Even though their population is much larger than it was decades ago, ospreys still face a variety of threats that jeopardize their ultimate survival. It’s commonly known that ospreys face very high mortality rates in their first year of life. Before even leaving the nest their young are so vulnerable. They can fall or be blown out of the nest, predated by raccoons, crows, or eagles, killed by their own siblings, or die from starvation. After they fledge, then they need to learn to find and catch prey and avoid power lines and wind turbines. Then they need to learn to migrate south and avoid being shot in the process. Once they find a suitable wintering site, then they remain in the same area for the next two years. Then they return to their natal areas to find a suitable nest site and start their own osprey family!

 

Today, we need your help! We cannot reach all active nests in New Jersey. There is still plenty of time to help us keep track of the state population. Citizens are encouraged to submit sightings of activity at osprey nests on Osprey Watch, a global osprey watching community. In 2013 all of the known locations for osprey nests was released on Osprey Watch’s website. As a partner with Osprey Watch, we share and use the data collected to help determine the overall health of the population, which is summarized in our annual report.

 

To help engage our Osprey Watchers, we started Project RedBand, a citizen science based osprey re-sighting project. This is year two of the project. So far we’ve deployed 92 red bands (out of 100) on young produced at nests on Barnegat Bay (62 in 2014 and 30 in 2015). The young that were banded last year will start to return to New Jersey in 2016. Usually young adults return later than older adults, so the red banded birds might not be seen until May or June. That’s when they’ll find areas with high prey availability and suitable nest sites. Usually males don’t stray far from their natal areas but females do. With these red bands, we hope to learn a little more about where our ospreys are dispersing to and at the same time engaging our coastal communities in osprey conservation.

 

Learn more:

 

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

Month of the Falcon – Bonus shots – Holgate

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014
Our barrier island predators

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

New Jersey’s geographic location along the Atlantic Coast helps make it a unique place for wildlife and a globally recognized stopover for migratory birds, bats, and invertebrates. Peregrine falcons are a common sight along our barrier islands during fall and winter months. Peregrines hang out in areas with high prey densities and many of those areas are our coastal and urban areas. Those areas have large flocks of shorebirds, ducks, blackbirds, pigeons, and common backyard birds.

One photographer, Northside Jim, has been documenting peregrines on Long Beach Island. I first started following Jim’s blog, “Readings from the Northside,” after seeing his attraction to capturing the natural ecology of the beach on Long Beach Island, and especially his attraction to taking photos of the ospreys that he saw flying overhead in North Beach. I later contacted Jim and he came out osprey banding with me on Barnegat Bay to “meet” the ospreys that he was seeing fly overhead.  Jim’s been hooked ever since!

His compassion for wildlife is apparent as well. Rescuing injured gulls, showing photos of boats that are way too close to marine mammals, etc… In addition, Jim’s clever and witty writing style, photo captions and subject matter make learning about wildlife and the natural environment enjoyable and entertaining. Most importantly, his audience is mostly tourists on LBI, so educating them about our impacts on wildlife and coastal barrier islands is key.

Jim doesn’t like to call himself a photographer, but in fact he is a very talented one, and it’s his photo-journalistic style that captures the eye. This past fall Jim photographed several peregrine falcons in the Holgate Unit of Edwin B. Forsythe NWR, which is at the south end of Long Beach Island. One of his most remarkable discoveries was a juvenile (first photo below) peregrine that I banded in the summer of 2013. “Bridgette” was banded with an auxiliary band reading “59/AN (black/green),” so Jim was able to read the band from his photos. She was from a new nest that we built last spring as a mitigation project for the construction of a bridge over the Garden State Parkway. A pair a had previously nested underneath the bridge but young never fledged the nest. We had no idea if the pair would use the new platform after we installed it, but they did! You can read more about this encounter on Jim’s blog. Enjoy!

Jim has become quite the fan of peregrine falcons and ospreys in NJ. Photo by Northside Jim.

Jim has become quite the fan of peregrine falcons and ospreys in NJ. Photo by Northside Jim.

You can tell that he has a lot of experience (and patience) when it comes to getting a good shot. Photo by Northside Jim.

You can tell that he has a lot of experience (and patience) when it comes to getting a good shot. Photo by Northside Jim.

Percy, the juvenile peregrine from the Holgate Unit of Forsythe NWR. Photo by Northside Jim.

Percy, the juvenile peregrine from the Holgate Unit of Forsythe NWR. Photo by Northside Jim.

Jim's enthusiasm for engaging unwary visitors of the rare (wild) residents of LBI through his popular blog and remarkable photography is a huge benefit to raising awareness for these species. Photo by Northside Jim.

Jim’s enthusiasm for engaging unwary visitors of the rare (wild) residents of LBI through his popular blog and remarkable photography is a huge benefit to raising awareness for these species. Photo by Northside Jim.

This juvenile Jim aptly named "Bridgette" after the nest where it originated, which was installed in 2013 for mitigation for a nest that was once on the GSP bridge over Egg Harbor Bay. Photo by Northside Jim.

This juvenile Jim aptly named “Bridgette” after the nest where it originated (she has a leg band that is readable), which was installed in 2013 for mitigation for a nest that was once on the GSP bridge over Egg Harbor Bay. Photo by Northside Jim.

Thank you, Jim, for all of your efforts to help promote our mission of protecting NJ’s rare wildlife. Make sure to check out his blog to see more spectacular photography: http://exit63.wordpress.com/