Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘project redband’

Ospreys Continue to Thrive in New Jersey

Monday, February 24th, 2020

Results from 2019 Osprey Nest Surveys highlight another productive year.

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

An osprey nest in a snag on Barnegat Bay. July 2019.

Surveys of osprey nests in New Jersey have occurred annually for the past forty five years. They are conducted to help determine the overall size and health of the population. The first aerial survey over Barnegat Bay counted only five active nests. Ten years earlier there had been over 50. The combined effects of DDT and habitat loss had taken their toll. No osprey nests were productive and the population at risk of being extirpated from the state.

“In 1974 there were only five active osprey nests on Barnegat Bay. Today there are approximately one hundred and fifty.”

After ospreys were listed as endangered an innovative effort to transplant viable eggs from the Chesapeake Bay to Barnegat Bay began. In addition, to help replace natural nest sites that were lost to development, man-made nest platforms were designed and installed away from human disturbance. Slowly osprey pairs became productive thanks to the die hard effort of State biologists like Pete McLain, Kathy Clark and many volunteers and partners. It’s encouraging for us to look back to see how far we’ve come in the statewide recovery of ospreys in New Jersey.

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Osprey 04/D Back in Jersey!

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

Barnegat Bay Osprey Returns to New Jersey After Two Year Vacation

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

04/D was photographed in Allendale at the Celery Farm by Barbara Dilger on Monday, April 23.

North American ospreys migrate long distances to and from their breeding and wintering grounds in the southern U.S., Central America, Caribbean Islands, and N. South America. For the past four years we have been banding young ospreys who originate from nests on Barnegat Bay with an auxiliary band to help determine their movements after fledging. Project RedBand was designed to help track the migration, dispersal, life span, and foraging habits of ospreys from Barnegat Bay, a unique estuary along the Atlantic Coast of New Jersey. The project was also designed to help engage the public in osprey management and conservation. Since the red bands are highly visible and readable with optics, it allows the public the ability to identify the individual and then learn about their past. Lastly, we now rely heavily on citizen scientists who report nesting activity on Osprey Watch(more…)

Osprey Numbers Surge Above Post-DDT Milestone

Monday, January 22nd, 2018
Statewide Census Documents over 650 nesting pairs in New Jersey

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

An osprey prepares to land on a natural nest. Barnegat Bay, NJ.

Since we began to work more closely with ospreys in 2006, we have documented the population grow beyond the historic population estimate of 350-450 nesting pairs (Henny 1977) to a new historic milestone. In 2017, a total of 668 active nests were recorded during a statewide census of nesting ospreys, which is well above the post-DDT milestone of 500 nesting pairs, and show that the population continues to grow. This is the second census conducted without the use of manned aircraft since 2009 after all known osprey nests were released and mapped online in 2013. Despite the lack of aircraft, we’re still able to obtain an accurate representation of the size and health of the statewide population, while reducing the overall project cost. (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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The Inspiring Story of Osprey 39/D

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016
A promising outcome from a dangerous situation

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Yesterday evening, while conducting an osprey nest survey at Sedge Island Wildlife Management Area, I received a message from a local wildlife photographer about an osprey nestling that was entangled. I talked to the photographer, Rich Nicol and got detailed information about the situation, the nest, and started to formulate a plan to address the situation. After learning that the nest was on a 35-40’ high pole, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to get up there without some help. Yes – a large ladder would suffice, but it would be tricky to handle the situation (with the bird being entangled). You see, after seeing photos of the young osprey, I knew it was RTF (Ready To Fly). Ospreys fledge or take their first flight at around 7-8 weeks of age. The entangled osprey was around 7 weeks old. I knew we had to act quickly to catch the bird and untangle it before it tried to fledge. This morning I saw the photos that Rich took and it clearly showed that the young osprey had monofilament or a net around its neck… (more…)