Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘new jersey osprey project’

Photo from the field

Friday, October 7th, 2011
Students help provide homes for ospreys on New York Bay

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Students and teachers from Bayonne High School stand in front of an osprey platform that was built this past week. © Ben Wurst

This past week I spent the day with students and teachers at Bayonne High School (BHS). I was there to help students construct three osprey nesting platforms. The platforms are being placed at the Bayonne Golf Club (BGC) along a portion wetland habitat that was restored by the BGC along New York Bay. This whole project began when I was approached a couple months ago by Tom Tokar, a teacher at BHS, about assisting them with the construction and placement of the platforms with some of his students. Tom and Larissa Drennan, a teacher at the Woodrow Wilson School, have involved their students in many environmental projects in Bayonne, one of which is where they grow mussels and seed them at the BCG. Ron D’Argenio, with BGC has supported their efforts from the beginning not only by offering up the BGC as a location to seed the mussels but also through financial assistance. Ron and the BGC are also fully funding this project as well, with a very generous donation to CWF. (more…)

Photo from the field

Thursday, July 14th, 2011
Osprey numbers continue to rise!

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Three osprey nestlings were a common sight in many nests from Sedge Island to Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey. © Ben Wurst

Volunteers, CWF staff, and biologists with NJ Fish & Wildlife recently completed osprey nesting surveys throughout coastal areas of New Jersey. Each year these “osprey banders” complete “ground surveys” (referred to as ground surveys because they are surveying nests by land/sea, not by helicopter) that cover around 70% of the state population. I survey colonies on Barnegat Bay, Little Egg Harbor, and Absecon. The surveys are meant to keep track of the population and determine its health. During the surveys the banders access nesting areas mainly by boat since most ospreys nest in coastal areas or by water (their source of food). We use ladders to access nests where we count the number of young produced and then place an aluminum band on each of the young.  For the past two years we have also been collecting feather samples for a study being conducted by the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia where they are analyzing the stable isotopes to determine what ospreys are eating and how their diet has changed over time. More specifically they’ll be looking for changes in the isotope profiles across the local range of ospreys – something that has never been done before.

In one area, Sedge Island WMA, that I’ve surveyed for the past few years I surveyed 27 nests. 22 of those nests were occupied and produced a total of 47 young. 34 of those young were banded for future tracking. From the survey I can calculate the productivity or reproductive rate which is a measure of how healthy the population of that colony is. The productivity rate for Sedge Island is 2.14 young/active(known-outcome)nest this year which is the highest ever recorded (see chart at right for more details). These awesome results are the result of calm and mild weather conditions this spring and summer, high availability of prey, and possibly the increased amount of experienced breeding birds. Another factor that has surely helped to give the population a boost is the increased availability of suitable nest sites along the coast. Since 2004, I’ve helped to install more than 100 nesting platforms. Many of these platforms replaced old dilapidated structures and now give ospreys a better chance at successfully raising young that will eventually return to New Jersey to reproduce.




CWF Celebrates Earth Day

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011
At the ACUA

by Larissa Smith, Biologist/Volunteer Manager

Matt Klewin and Liz Silvernail at the CWF table.

Rebecca and Tari Clark with their new eagle birdhouse.

On Sunday May 1st Liz Silvernail, CWF Director of Development, and I spent the day at the Atlantic County Utilities Authority Earth Day celebration. The weather was gorgeous and we were busy all day talking to people about CWF and the different projects that we are working on.  Kids especially stopped by to see the mounted Barred Owl, Peregrine Falcon and turtle shells. Also helping at the table were volunteers Matt Klewin, Margaret  Klewin-Atack and their daughter Rhianna. Their team the, Wrending Talons, which has been together for 18 years, will be participating in the World Series of Birding on May 14th and CWF is the recipient of their pledges.

We also had a free raffle for an eagle bird house made by eagle project volunteer Kevin Buynie. The winners were Tari Clark

and her daughter Rebecca. They were thrilled to be the winners and were excited to see if any birds would nest in the house this year.

Photo from the field

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011
Not your typical osprey platform!

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

A 30 ft. tall osprey platform is installed at Fort Monmouth in Oceanport, NJ. © Ben Wurst

For the past two years we’ve worked with staff from the Army Corps of Engineers to enhance osprey nesting habitat within the Shrewsbury River Watershed inside Fort Monmouth in Oceanport, New Jersey. We first began work during the summer of 2009 when an osprey nested on a utility pole at the Fort. The pair had eggs when their nest caused $10,000 worth of damage to a transformer. To alleviate the problem the nest was going to be removed from the pole and the nest would have been lost.  Instead Joe Fallon, Chief of the Environmental Division at the Fort decided to install a new pole next to the nest on the live power lines. I met with Joe and gave him a platform “top” and braces to attach to the top of the new pole. After the new pole was installed the nest and eggs were moved. The adults immediately took to the nest platform and successfully raised two young that year. In 2010, they raised another two young that we banded with USGS bird bands.

After completion of work this spring there will be a total of 18 nesting platforms there (not including a nest on a light pole over a baseball field). We hope to use part of this funding to install more nesting structures on several islands to the west of Sea Bright and Monmouth Beach in 2012.

Lost Connection

Monday, August 2nd, 2010
To the internet, not wildlife!

By Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

The office where I work, inside Tuckahoe Wildlife Management Area in northern Cape May County, recently lost its connection to the world wide interweb. The office is home to the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife staff and three CWF employees. Since the demise of our connection to the world wide interweb the office has been ghostly quiet. Some have chosen to work at home, use some vacation time, or get some field work done. I just wrapped up my primary field season surveying osprey nests along the Atlantic Coast of NJ so I chose to be constructive, literally. I started constructing some artificial nesting platforms for ospreys. Normally I do this in the winter when field work is very limited, but finishing these now will give me a chance to install them this fall. Late summer and fall are the best times to install platforms. The water and air are warm and the winds are calm, so boots and bulky clothes aren’t required. So, I’m glad the internet is down because it gave me a reason to construct these platforms earlier than usual.

An osprey platform sits while I work on the finishing touches. This image was shot using a technique referred to as HDR. © Ben Wurst

Two platforms will be going up in Lavallette, one near Tuckerton, and the other has yet to be determined (possibly Sea Isle). Stay tuned for more updates and photos!