Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey’

Ending the Year 2022 With Gratitude

Friday, December 30th, 2022

With 2022 coming to a close, Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s staff took a moment to reflect on what they were thankful for this year at work and with regards to New Jersey’s wildlife.

The CWF team (Board and staff) enjoyed a holiday celebration at Flying Fish Brewery.

I’m thankful for New Jersey’s incredible wildlife and my role in protecting so many at-risk species. I owe my greatest appreciation, however, to the dedicated people who carry out and support CWF’s work to strengthen wildlife populations and educate the next generation of environmental stewards. Our Board and staff are truly extraordinary at what they do, and our contributors, volunteers, and partners make all our success stories possible. 

-Liz Silvernail, CWF Executive Director

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In Search of Stumpy – A Wintering Piping Plover Adventure

Wednesday, December 21st, 2022

By Todd Pover, Senior Wildlife Biologist

Earlier this summer, it was announced that the annual range-wide American oystercatcher meeting would be held in December on the Gulf Coast of Florida near Naples. Thrilled to finally be attending in-person after several pandemic years of virtual meetings, my mind immediately pivoted to what other nearby nature sites I could also visit. Or more specifically and not too surprising for those that know me…where could I go to view wintering piping plovers.

In late September, Hurricane Ian made a direct landing in this region of Florida. The meeting had to be scuttled, relocated to the Georgia coast. And just like that, my “add-on” plans – I had arranged a short trip to Outback Key about two hours north of the meeting – fell off the itinerary.

Or maybe not. Georgia borders Florida, right? Six hours of driving for a chance to see 50-60 piping plovers in one spot is reasonable, right? Did I mention at least one New Jersey breeder winters at the site?

So as soon as the oystercatcher meeting wrapped at mid-day, I found myself in a car, along with fellow CWF Biologist Emmy Casper, hurtling toward St. Petersburg, Florida. We arrived at nightfall, woke in what felt like a flash, so we could wait in a line of cars, still in the dark, for Fort DeSoto County Park to open at 7 am. We had a very narrow window for our visit with the morning low tide being optimal shorebird viewing at Outback Key and because we had mid-day flights home.

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Ongoing Grassland Restoration Efforts Improve Conditions for Grassland Nesting Birds

Tuesday, December 20th, 2022

by Meaghan Lyon, Wildlife Biologist

Over the past five years, long term efforts have been ongoing to complete a large-scale grassland restoration at the McGuire Airfield. So far, roughly 500 acres have been treated and seeded to encourage the growth of native warm season grasses with another 100 acres to be completed by next spring. The planting of species like little bluestem, sideoats grama, and blue grama has helped to create grassland bird nesting habitat and conserve existing habitat, while accommodating necessary airfield procedures and safety.

Keeping the vegetation on the airfield short is important to ensure airport safety and to achieve that goal, the fields must be mowed. When the vegetation reaches 12-14 inches, the area is mowed back down to 7 inches. The vegetation before the start of the restoration project was a mix of native and non-native woody, forb, and grass species, with some plants growing at a faster rate than others. The quicker these plants grow, the more frequent mowing must occur. It’s for this reason why native warm season grasses were planted, which have a slower growth rate and tend not to grow more than 12-14 inches. By planting these species and reducing mowing frequency, the grassland birds have less disturbance and human impacts on their nesting season.

This work is done in cooperation with the USFWS New Jersey Field Office, and grassland bird surveys are completed throughout the summer to monitor success. Stay tuned to learn more about our grassland bird results for the 2022 breeding season.

Vegetation must be mowed when grasses exceed 12 inches.

The Story of Osprey 52/K

Thursday, December 15th, 2022

by Ben Wurst / Habitat Program Manager

Osprey 52/K. September 5, 2022. Photo by Chris Kelly.

In 2014, we began to band osprey nestlings produced at nests within the Barnegat Bay watershed with auxiliary bands. This was an effort which came about from the interest of Jim Verhagen, a LBI resident and wildlife biographer. He wondered why young ospreys were not banded with color, field readable bands, like some endangered raptors, including bald eagles and peregrine falcons. This spawned Project RedBand, an osprey banding and re-sighting project. The goal of the project was to learn more about ospreys when they are alive while engaging coastal residents in their management. Just under 500 young ospreys were banded with red auxiliary bands from 2014-2020 from nests all along the Barnegat Bay estuary.

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Northern Long-eared Bat, An Endangered Species

Wednesday, November 30th, 2022

by Meaghan Lyon, Wildlife Biologist

It’s official. The Northern long-eared bat is listed as an endangered species under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Endangered Species Act. Earlier this year, the USFWS announced the proposed uplisting due to severe population declines. This uplisting would help to protect and recover this imperiled species and the ecosystems upon which they depend on.

A Northern long-eared bat is held in a gloved hand- these bats are less that 4 inches long with a wingspan of 9-10 inches.

Through the Endangered Species Act, species may be listed as either endangered or threatened. The term “Threatened” means a species is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future. The term “Endangered” means a species is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.

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