Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘new jersey osprey project’

Terrapin Week: Making a Difference

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

This story marks the fourth of five blog stories spotlighting New Jersey’s Diamondback Terrapin – and educating people on the research and efforts being done to protect these fascinating reptiles!

Part 1, Monday, was an introduction into the world of the Diamondback Terrapin. Part 2, Tuesday, featured CWF’s research efforts to protect the terrapins. Part 3, Wednesday, looked at great places to view these beautiful turtles . Part 4, today’s blog post, will highlight some important ways you can help protect the Diamondback Terrapins. Part 5, Friday, will showcase some other important regional research being done by our partners.

Steps You Can Take to Protect the Diamondback Terrapins!

by Ben Wurst, CWF Habitat Program Manager

A female terrapin pauses while crossing Great Bay Blvd in Little Egg Harbor, NJ.

A female terrapin pauses while crossing Great Bay Blvd in Little Egg Harbor, NJ.

We all can make a difference to help conserve northern diamondback terrapins. This beautiful species is a symbol of our coast – and now more than ever, we need to be sensitive to our incredible coastal estuary ecosystems!

Here are some ways that you can help make a difference to protect this amazing species:

  • Slow down, don’t tailgate, and be aware while driving in coastal areas from May through July.
  • If you see a terrapin on the road, pull over, put on your hazard lights and carefully help the turtle cross in the direction it is going. Please be careful and use your best judgement and do not get in front of a motor vehicle to stop them on area roads. Do not jeopardize your own safety for a turtle.
  • If you go crabbing and use commercial-Maryland style crab pots, use BRDs or “bycatch reduction devices” to prevent terrapins from getting trapped in them. Use line that sinks to prevent a crab pot from becoming lost. Abandoned crab pots can trap and kill a ton of marine life over time, including blue claw crabs, many species of fish, and terrapins.
  • Talk to others to educate them about terrapins and their role in the ecosystem. You can learn all about them in our Online Field Guide!
  • Volunteer with CWF to patrol roadways and take part in other volunteer actions in Southern Ocean County, Atlantic County, and Cape May County! We really need your help – so please contact us if you, your business, or your civic group is willing to help save the incredible diamondback terrapin!
  • Donate to CWF’s diamondback terrapin program. Any amount would help greatly! Click here and note Terrapin in the PayPal note, or you can mail a contribution to Conserve Wildlife Foundation, 501 East State Street, P.O. Box 420, Mailcode 501-03E, Trenton, NJ 08625-0420. Be sure to note Terrapin in the check’s subject line.

Email us at with Volunteer in the Subject line if you’re interested.

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.