Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘NJ Osprey Project’

Osprey 98/K: The Backstory

Tuesday, January 10th, 2023

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Osprey 98/K with prey over Barnegat Lighthouse State Park. May 2022. Photo by Bob Peal.

I have been finalizing osprey band re-sightings and encounters from last year and one particular band number stood out. It was 98/K, who was re-sighted by Bob Peal during his visit to Barnegat Lighthouse State Park on May 17, 2022. There he photographed a variety of wildlife, including several ospreys who had red auxiliary bands, one of which was readable!

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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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Stormy Spring Impacts Osprey Productivity

Tuesday, November 15th, 2022

by Ben Wurst / Habitat Program Manager

An osprey nest with hatchlings on May 16, 2022. One of many nests that eventually failed to produce young this year.

Whenever we look at how ospreys are faring, weather is always taken into account. When we summarize and report on the results of our summer osprey nesting surveys, we also look at the local climate. Being situated along the Atlantic coast, our weather is influenced by the ocean. As aerial predators of fish, ospreys are reliant on favorable water conditions to forage.

Preliminary results of the 2022 New Jersey Osprey Project Census show that the osprey population was not as productive this year as they have been over the past ~20 years. This was largely due to a low pressure system (nor’easter) that stalled off the coast in early May — when the majority of pairs were incubating eggs. The strong onshore winds caused moderate coastal flooding, windy conditions, increased wave action and water turbidity, which made it more difficult for ospreys to find and catch prey in coastal waters. Males do 100% of the foraging from the onset of egg laying until young begin to fledge, so when they are unable to provide food, females must abandon their nests and eggs to forage for themselves. The nor’easter in May appears to have affected the outcome of many coastal nests and in some cases, complete colonies. Of course there are many other causes for nest failure but this year weather played a major role.

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Photo From The Field

Saturday, April 4th, 2020

Terrapin hatchlings and 3000 tons of sand.

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

If lucky, I might cross paths with this terrapin in another decade (if it’s a female) and she overcomes the odds and returns to nest here as an adult.

While out inspecting our newly created terrapin habitat enhancement site in Little Egg Harbor, I found several terrapin hatchlings who were traversing the 36″ high pile of sand. I was expecting to see some hatchlings, since many arise from the protection of nest cavities on warm spring days in April, but not on top of our enhancement site. The moment I spotted one of these half dollar sized turtles, I looked into the distance and saw another.

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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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