Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Osprey cam’

Osprey Cam reveals winter scenery

Friday, February 7th, 2014
Polar vortex, peregrines, and lots of snow geese

The extreme cold weather in January brought some really neat winter scenery to the coastal saltmarsh. One of the most productive ecosystems in the world is almost totally desolate in the middle of winter. There are still a few signs of life though, which have been captured by our Osprey Cam, including top tiers predators, peregrine falcons, and herbivores, snow geese. There’s no doubt that each plays a role in the ecosystem. The snow geese eat any kind of vegetation that they can find and they consume any part of the plant, seeds, stems, leaves, tubers, and roots.  The osprey cam showed them sticking there heads underground to forage on the rhizoidial roots of saltmarsh cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora).  Here’s an interesting fact from Cornell University’s All About Birds website: “Food passes through the Snow Goose’s digestive tract in only an hour or two, generating 6 to 15 droppings per hour. The defecation rate is highest when a goose is grubbing for rhizomes, because such food is very high in fiber and the goose inevitably swallows mud.” Their droppings will no doubt help to fertilize the marsh in the spring!

Ice floe.

Ice floe.

A few adult peregrine falcons have been perching on the platform.

A few adult peregrine falcons have been perching on the platform.

Snow and geese.

Snow and geese.

More snow geese...

More snow geese…

Snow geese have been foraging all around the osprey nest.

YUM! Roots and tubers!

Snow goose

Got a napkin?

Looks like the arctic...

Looks like the arctic…

6" of fresh snow.

6″ of fresh snow.



Peregrine pair on Osprey platform

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

This morning a pair of peregrine falcons have been hanging on the osprey cam nest at Edwin B. Forsythe NWR. First a female was perched on the nest, then she flew off a couple times, only to circle around and land on the nest again. Then a male landed on the platform and was seen calling out, most likely to the female. We’re not sure if they are a breeding pair or not. The female only had a silver federal band on her right leg and the male has a black federal band (which means he’s a Jersey bird) and a black/green auxiliary band on his left leg. It is unreadable since it’s pretty covered in dirt/mud. By the looks of him it looks like he just finished breakfast…

This morning a female peregrine was perched on the osprey cam nest at Forsythe NWR.

This morning a female peregrine was perched on the osprey cam nest at Forsythe NWR.

Who's that?

Who’s that?

Then a male showed up and stole the show.

Then a male showed up and stole the show.



Osprey Cam: Back up and running!

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013
After much delay…

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Last week we set out to finally repair the osprey cam at Edwin B. Forsythe NWR. (Note: we do all of the technical repairs and maintenance to the camera system) Initial repairs were delayed to protect the osprey young. Timing restrictions are set in place to reduce disturbance to nesting ospreys and nests cannot be disturbed from April 1 – August 30. This is a good thing! When we finally set out to figure out the issue with why the camera suddenly lost power, we had to wait until it was safe to enter the nest. When we first went out (August 15) for a quick diagnosis (after we knew all young were flying and not relying on the nest as much) and got the cam online again…but it died after 30 minutes of streaming…

We went out again in late September and determined it was the solar charge controller but had to wait to get a new one. In October we went out out to replace the charge controller but the system was still down and the equipment was not getting power. The two batteries only had 6 volts of charge and needed to be recharged. So, the two 50lb. batteries were lugged a pretty long distance and charged up. Once they held a charge we made plans to go back to re-install them and hoped it would work. Success!! The batteries powered up the system and within minutes the camera was streaming online!

Special thanks to volunteer Joe Bilotta for helping out with the re-installation of the batteries!

Osprey Cam equipment

Volunteer, Joe Bilotta helps to setup a ladder to access osprey cam equipment.

Ben gives thumbs up!

Thumbs up!!

Osprey nest in off season

Not so green anymore!


Sunday, June 2nd, 2013
Three healthy hatchlings at Forsythe NWR!

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager


If you haven’t noticed, we now have three healthy osprey nestlings at the nest at Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Oceanville, as viewed by our Osprey Cam. The first chick hatched on May 25th, the second on the 26th, and the third on the 28th. The eggs hatched in the order they were laid, referred to as asynchronous hatching. The incubation period was ~38 days for all three eggs (average is 35-37 in NJ; 32-43 throughout their range). With the cooler temperatures the longer period is expected. Osprey young are born semi-altricial, or are downy and require close parental care to survive. The male osprey has been very busy foraging and catching more prey to feed all the hungry mouths. Have you tried to identify the prey that they’ve brought in?

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!!

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013
Single use plastic bag wrapped around ospreys neck…

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

We had quite a scare last week, on April 30th around 12:30pm, after getting a report from an observer of our Osprey Cam on our Facebook page. A single use plastic shopping bag had gotten wrapped around the neck of the incubating female. After getting the report we started to monitor the situation to see how it would unfold. The bag was loosely wrapped, so we hoped she would be able to free herself…which she did after an hour.

Here you can see the single use plastic bag around her neck.

Here you can see the single use plastic bag around her neck.

A lot of viewers and FB fans were asking why we weren’t going out to remove the bag from her neck. We answered each and every question to help make sure people knew that we were doing everything we could to protect her safety. First, we couldn’t just walk out to the nest (which is out in the middle of the salt marsh) without the female reacting to us and flying off the nest (with the plastic bag around her neck). Her flying off the nest with the bag around her neck would have only caused even more harm to her. She could have gotten snagged on a piece of nesting material and in the struggle could have choked to death or she could have fractured one of her eggs… Second, if she would have been tied down to the nest, then we would have enacted a plan to go out to the nest (after a certain amount of time) and released her. Our policy is that we will only intervene if it is a life or death situation. When we enter their nest sites we introduce stress to the birds which can ultimately do more harm than good. Finally, at least we have a camera to monitor the nest! Think of all the other 500+ nests in New Jersey where we only go out to monitor them once or twice during the nesting season. So much plastic winds up in osprey nests that it is a serious concern. People need to be more aware of their surroundings and do their best to make sure waste is properly disposed of.

There are ways you can help make a difference:

  1. Reduce the amount of stuff you buy and the amount of trash you produce
  2. Reuse what you can, recycle what you can’t
  3. Pick up litter when you see it. There is a great movement in Australia called “Take 3” and their message is simple: “Take three pieces of rubbish with you when you leave the beach, waterway or… anywhere and you have made a difference.”  
  4. Stop or reduce your dependence on single use plastics
  5. Use reusable shopping bags
  6. Don’t release balloons!
The female struggles to get free of the bag.

The female struggles to get free of the bag.

Statistics for plastic recycling are dismal… According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency “In 2010, the category of plastics which includes bags, sacks, and wraps was recycled at almost 12 percent.” We’re lucky that she was able to free herself. This just proves that ospreys do not have an easy life. There are many threats to ospreys and they have very high mortality rates, which are around 80%.

On the positive side, the female and male continue to incubate three eggs at Edwin B. Forsythe NWR. We should start to watch for hatching around May 19-20th. We have been writing nest news with other life history information on a weekly basis on our Osprey Cam page.