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Posts Tagged ‘project redband’

Project RedBand: 04/C from LBI to Trinidad and Tobago!

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014
Auxiliary bands help link Barnegat Bay ospreys to their wintering grounds

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

04/C was banded at a nest on LBI and re-sighted on the island of Trinidad and Tobago by Nicholas Hassanali.

04/C was banded at a nest on LBI and re-sighted on the island of Trinidad and Tobago by Nicholas Hassanali.

When I started work on Monday morning I got some amazing news (at least for an osprey lover). One of the young ospreys that I banded on Barnegat Bay was re-sighted on the Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago!! To top that cake, the osprey was photographed to confirm its sighting. YES!! Nicholas Hassanali took the above photo and enlarged the red band to read the alpha-numeric code which reads “04/C.” I looked up in my banding records and saw that 04/C was produced at a nest behind the Long Beach Island Foundation for Arts & Sciences in Loveladies, Long Beach Island.

04/C after being banded. He was around 4 weeks old on July 7, 2014.

04/C after being banded. He was around 4 weeks old on July 7, 2014.

I banded him (I can tell its a male by the size of the band on its leg and the lack of a brown necklace of feathers on its breast) on July 7th with a CWF donor Bill C. We ventured to four nests by kayak. This was the first survey where I started to deploy the red auxiliary bands on young ospreys. I remember that it was a pleasant day. Not too hot or windy. As we made our way from one sheltered nest on a lagoon to another out on the bay we felt the winds kick up from the south making paddling difficult (especially when you’re towing another kayak with a ladder on top!).

125-A-032: 04/C's nest.

125-A-032: 04/C’s nest.

We decided to return to Bill’s house and take my truck to survey the next two nests, since we could walk to them from a side street. We walked out to one nest and found that it failed, i.e. no young were produced. Then we proceeded onto the next, 04/C’s nest. I remember climbing up the ladder to band the young and did not get a chance to take any better photos because I had to be on my way soon. While up there I remember the male dropped a fish (bunker) and Bill got it and we put it back into the nest. One thing that I will not forget about this day is the smell of smoke and burning plastic. I found out later that day that a lawyer’s office in Ship Bottom was on fire when we were out surveying these nests. Luckily no one was hurt in the fire!

I personally cannot wait to get more reports of our red banded ospreys. The young that were banded this year will not return until 2016 and even then they might not return until the late spring/early summer and will not breed. At least I know that there are people out there watching and admiring our ospreys! As Nick said in a comment on his photo on Flickr, “ I have a great love for Ospreys.” 🙂

Project RedBand is a go!

Thursday, September 4th, 2014
Time to get outside and watch some ospreys!

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

A pair of ospreys produced at a nest on Barnegat Bay were banded with a red auxiliary band. © Northside Jim

A pair of ospreys produced at a nest on Barnegat Bay were banded with a red auxiliary band. © Northside Jim

A lot has changed throughout the 40 project history of the New Jersey Osprey Project. From a low of only 53 osprey pairs (statewide) in 1973, today there are more than 540 pairs that return here each year to feed, nest, and raise young. In the beginning work to re-establish their population was a trementous undertaking. Ospreys, a  were loaded with environmental contaminents (DDT, which caused the thinning of egg shells), their habitat was bulldozed, and early on birds were shot for their feathers and eggs. Once the Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1973 ospreys were afforded protection they deserved, and work by biologists like Pete McLain were underway to restore the population in New Jersey.  (more…)

Photo from the Field

Thursday, July 24th, 2014
Running the numbers

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Ben Wurst prepares to band two osprey nestlings for future tracking. Photo courtesy Eric Sambol

Ben Wurst prepares to band two osprey nestlings for future tracking. Photo courtesy Eric Sambol

By now many young ospreys have taken to the wing. While they still rely on their nests to perch at night and their parents for food, these juveniles take to the skies to learn the skills needed to survive to adulthood. Our nesting surveys have been completed, birds banded, and our sunburn and green bites are healing! Over the next week I will start to enter and summarize data that I’ve collected and data from our volunteer “banders” who help cover the most densely populated colonies. From my surveys, which range from Mantoloking to Atlantic City, I’d say that productivity is down in some areas and up in others, as compared to last year. But, ospreys still had a decent year. I would NOT call it a BAD year!

By far my own survey effort was not as great as last year, when we conducted a census of all nesting ospreys in NJ, by publishing our nest locations on our partners website, called Osprey Watch. This year I battled broken boats, a severe cold (still didn’t slow me down), harsh south winds, and thunderstorms to get to as many nests as I could, especially on Barnegat Bay. Why Barnegat Bay? We all have heard that Barnegat Bay is dying. Overloaded with excess nutrients from stormwater runoff, which is killing off the eelgrass beds that provide shelter for many juvenile fish, aka future osprey prey. This project will help us learn about osprey foraging habitat on N. Barnegat Bay. Are more birds foraging in the ocean in those areas, as opposed to birds that nest closer to LBI and LEHT? Hopefully our ospreys will help shed some light on the health of the bay. Lastly, the project would not be possible without the generous support of Northside Jim, chief blogger/extraordinary photographer at “Readings from the Northside” and his many followers. With their support we were able to purchase (100) and deploy (60) a red auxiliary band on young birds. These bands are engraved with an alpha-numeric code which will make identifying birds much easier than only the aluminum USGS band. In the coming weeks Jim will be giving us some assistance with setting up a nice little website where people can learn all about the bands, the birds, and most importantly: report re-sightings of these awesome new bands!