Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘osprey’

Help Ensure Ospreys Have a Future in New Jersey

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

ACTION ALERT: Support ecological management of the most valuable public resource for our coastal ecosystem and economy

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Menhaden is a common food source for ospreys during their nesting season in New Jersey. Photo by Northside Jim.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is accepting public comment on the establishment of ecological management of Atlantic menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus), which is a keystone species. Basically, a keystone species is one that plays a large role in the ecosystem where it lives. If a keystone species is lost then the ecosystem would dramatically change or cease to function, causing widespread effects to other species that benefit. In New Jersey, ospreys have largely benefited from a healthy menhaden population as we’ve had relatively high reproductive rates (more than double what’s needed to sustain population) over the past decade. From 2006 to 2016, the population has grown by 30% and above the pre-DDT, historic milestone of over 500 nesting pairs. Around 82% of the state population of ospreys nests along the Atlantic Coast and we observe menhaden at a huge number of nests during our mid-summer surveys. If menhaden numbers drop, then we will likely see osprey numbers follow suite, as reproductive rates will decline, as they are in the Chesapeake Bay.

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Osprey 78/D: A Second Chance

Thursday, August 31st, 2017
“Chump” is rescued, rehabbed, and released

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Chump, what are you doing down there? Photo by Northside Jim.

On Sunday, August 30 I woke and checked my email early that morning. I had an urgent message from Deb Traster, who lives adjacent to the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts & Sciences (LBIF). She said that something was not right with one of the young ospreys that fledged from a nearby nesting platform where I banded three nestlings with red bands on July 7. One was on the ground and could not take off. Fearing the worst (entanglement), she checked it out and sought help. After getting in touch with me, I reached out to my buddy, Northside Jim to see if he could get there that morning. (more…)

An Osprey Rescue

Monday, July 17th, 2017

By Meghan Kolk, CWF Wildlife Biologist

I would like to take the time to share a noteworthy event from last week, as well as highlight a CWF volunteer who deserves recognition for his dedication to wildlife.  CWF received a call last Friday from a concerned citizen about an osprey chick that had fallen from its nest in Avalon.  Osprey chicks are extremely vulnerable to summer storms, and are often blown right from their nests in strong winds.  The storm that pushed through the area Thursday night had likely blown this chick out of its nest onto the marsh below.  This particular nest had just been surveyed on July 6 and had contained three young chicks.

osprey chick down on marsh after severe storms

Often when staff members are not available to respond to calls like this, we rely on our volunteers to represent us.  In this case, when CWF volunteer John King got the call, he hooked up his boat and immediately headed out to assess the situation in hopes of making a rescue.  When he arrived on the scene, John realized that there were actually three osprey chicks on the ground below the nest; however, two of them were unfortunately already deceased.  The parents were also sitting on the ground with the one surviving chick when he arrived.  John picked up the chick and examined it for injuries.  When he determined it was in good condition, he carried it up a ladder and placed it back into the nest as the parents circled and screamed above him.  As he left the site, the parents immediately returned to the nest to check on their chick.

Osprey chick returned to the safety of it’s nest

Even though John was only able to save one of the three chicks, this was still a success story that would not have been possible without the help of a devoted volunteer.  The concerned citizens who had called in the emergency watched the whole rescue from across the lagoon and reported back the following day that the chick was sitting up in the nest looking healthy.  CWF also greatly appreciates citizens who care enough to observe wildlife responsibly and report wildlife emergencies when necessary.

Adult returns to nesting platform after chick is safely returned to nest.

John King has been volunteering for CWF for many years and has worked on several projects including the Calling Amphibian Project, NJ Tiger Salamander project and the NJ eagle project.  He has been very involved with the NJ osprey project, headed by CWF’s Ben Wurst, assisting with osprey surveys during the breeding season and helping to construct and erect nest platforms over the winter.  In addition to CWF, John also volunteers with many other conservation organizations and is always happy to lend a hand.  Although he is retired, his volunteer work is practically a full time job. I sincerely admire John’s continued enthusiasm and his dedication to wildlife, and I believe the world would be a better place if there were more people like him.

Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ thanks you, John!

 

Calling all Osprey Lovers!

Thursday, July 6th, 2017
Citizen Scientists Needed to help collect data on nesting ospreys

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Two young ospreys and an adult on a nest in Ocean County.

This year we are hoping to get a better estimate of the size and health of the osprey population in New Jersey. Up from only 50 pairs in the early 1970s to an estimated 600+ pairs today. Ospreys are an indicator species and as top tier predators, they show the effects of contaminants in the environment before many other long lived species. They are our new age “canary in the coal mine” so keeping tabs on the health of their population is key to assessing the health of our estuarine and marine ecosystems. (more…)

NJTV: Osprey population continues to rebound in NJ

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

NJTV News recently covered the continuing recovery of ospreys in the Garden State by visiting the nesting pair at Long Beach Island Foundation for the Arts & Sciences. CWF’s Ben Wurst and David Wheeler joined NJTV for this inspiring video and accompanying story.


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