Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘new jersey osprey project’

Photos from the Field

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020

Grounded: Resurgence of natural osprey nests

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

A ground nest with three young. photo by Ben Wurst

It’s not very common to see ospreys, a large predatory bird, nest on the ground. Despite the rarity of these sightings, it has become more common and acts as a glimpse into the past (and future), before humans dominated the landscape. Today, more and more ospreys are building nests on the ground and snags over water.

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Second Chances: Osprey Nestlings Fostered

Monday, July 6th, 2020

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager


Summer is here. As we reach the peak of the osprey nesting season in New Jersey, we conduct surveys to monitor their overall nest success and health of the state wide population. These surveys are conducted by specially trained volunteers who devote much time to ensure ospreys have a future in New Jersey. These surveys have been conducted every year since the early 1970s and are crucial to track any possible downturn in a colony, watershed or region of the state. Ospreys are a very important indicator of the health of the environment in which they live. This is especially important in coastal areas where they support a booming shore economy that is built around clean water and abundant marine/estuarine ecosystems.

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Ospreys Continue to Thrive in New Jersey

Monday, February 24th, 2020

Results from 2019 Osprey Nest Surveys highlight another productive year.

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

An osprey nest in a snag on Barnegat Bay. July 2019.

Surveys of osprey nests in New Jersey have occurred annually for the past forty five years. They are conducted to help determine the overall size and health of the population. The first aerial survey over Barnegat Bay counted only five active nests. Ten years earlier there had been over 50. The combined effects of DDT and habitat loss had taken their toll. No osprey nests were productive and the population at risk of being extirpated from the state.

“In 1974 there were only five active osprey nests on Barnegat Bay. Today there are approximately one hundred and fifty.”

After ospreys were listed as endangered an innovative effort to transplant viable eggs from the Chesapeake Bay to Barnegat Bay began. In addition, to help replace natural nest sites that were lost to development, man-made nest platforms were designed and installed away from human disturbance. Slowly osprey pairs became productive thanks to the die hard effort of State biologists like Pete McLain, Kathy Clark and many volunteers and partners. It’s encouraging for us to look back to see how far we’ve come in the statewide recovery of ospreys in New Jersey.

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My Summer Adventure with Osprey

Sunday, October 6th, 2019

by Marissa Murdock, 2019 NJ Osprey Project Intern; Rider University ’21

Marissa holds osprey 83/K who was banded after pre-maturely fledging and landing on the ground.

This past summer I was lucky enough to work with Conserve Wildlife Foundation as a volunteer student intern. I worked alongside Ben Wurst, CWF’s Habitat Program Manager, helping with the New Jersey Osprey Project. My internship consisted of assisting with osprey surveys, banding young, and recording data so that we can estimate the health of the population in New Jersey. 

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Photos from the Field: Ospreys Nest on Abandoned Crab Pot

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

Life is precious.

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

On the last osprey survey of the season we stumbled upon a new nest — one that was built on an abandoned crab pot. We were drifting on Absecon Bay when summarizing data when we heard an adult making defensive calls at a nest. We looked and saw a low nest on the ground.
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