Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘raptor’

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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A Kestrel Story

Friday, August 26th, 2022

Diane Cook, CWF volunteer

As a volunteer for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ and NJ’s Wildlife Conservation Corps I monitor bald eagle, osprey, and kestrel nests for the state. Kestrel monitoring is new to me this year. They are North
America’s smallest falcon. I enjoy watching them hunt, hovering over the grasslands
and open fields. Monitors watch and record milestones of the nesting season. Fledge
Day is the end of our season and what we hope to witness.
Friday – I knew the chicks would be fledging soon, and hoped I had not missed it. I sat in
my vehicle and watched for just over 3 hours! I could hear noise from inside the box as
wings were being flapped and exercised. For the longest time, I thought one had
already fledged since I was just seeing one perched in the box opening.

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A New Jersey First: Hawk Raised by Eagles

Tuesday, August 16th, 2022

By: Susan Harrison, NJ Bald Eagle Project Volunteer

I am a volunteer eagle nest monitor for New Jersey’s Bald Eagle Project. A new nest was discovered in central New Jersey this year by birder Chris Brown. Larissa Smith, the volunteer coordinator for the Bald Eagle Project and Conserve Wildlife Foundation asked me to monitor this nest. I did not know at the beginning of nesting season, what an interesting story would unfold!
In mid-April, by watching the behavior of the adult eagles, I could see that eggs had hatched and that the adults were feeding eaglets that were still too small to see. At the beginning of May I caught glimpses of the head of one eaglet peeking up over the top of the nest rails. Too cute! By the end of May, I could see the head of a second chick in the nest. But this chick looked very different! I soon discovered this chick looked different because it was not a Bald Eagle at all! It was a red-tailed hawk chick in the eagles’ nest! I could not believe what I was seeing! I took lots of photos to document this situation, a first for New Jersey! I consulted with two respected birders in the state, Chris Brown, who is a county eBird reviewer and Tim Brown, to help verify and document my observations for CWF and the NJ DEP/ENSP. We observed the adult eagles feeding both the red-tailed hawk chick and the bald eagle chick. It was one big happy family, with both chicks getting along with each other and with the adults quite well.

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Joining CWF as the Education Director

Tuesday, July 26th, 2022

Hello! I would like to introduce myself as a new member of the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey team. My name is Rachel McGovern, and I am joining CWF as the Education Director.  

I am a lifelong NJ resident and have always been passionate about environmental issues in the state. After completing my undergraduate degree in Human Ecology at Rutgers University, I spent a year in the Americorps New Jersey Watershed Ambassador Program (NJWAP) where I first taught environmental education lessons. Since then, I have had wonderful experiences teaching at nature-based organizations across the state.

Most recently, I was the Program Director at Flat Rock Brook Nature Center in Englewood, NJ. This center is located on a 150-acre forested preserve surrounded by dense development just minutes from the George Washington Bridge. At Flat Rock Brook, I led the education team in developing and delivering school programming, community events, and summer camp. I was also fortunate to take on the care of five non-releasable raptors—a job that deepened my admiration for all raptors in NJ (particularly falcons).

Josephine is a great-horned owl. She is an imprint, meaning she was raised by humans and now “identifies” with humans.
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Photos from the 2022 Eagle Nesting Season

Monday, July 11th, 2022

By: Larissa Smith, CWF Wildlife Biologist

I asked the Eagle Project volunteers to send me their one favorite photo from the 2022 eagle nesting season. Enjoy the eagle nesting season through the eyes of the nest monitors. (click on the photos to enlarge and view details)