Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Sedge Island WMA’

Identifying “Bandit” at Pete McLain Osprey Cam Nest

Friday, May 4th, 2018
The Amazing History of a Breeding Adult Male Osprey at Island Beach State Park

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Bandit in flight while carrying nesting material. He has been nesting at the Pete McLain Osprey Cam nest since 2013. photo by Karl Soehnlein.

Around 3% of ospreys who were banded with USGS aluminum bird bands as nestlings in New Jersey are re-sighted after fledging or leaving their nest. Most of those recoveries or resightings are centered around mortality based events where a bird is injured or killed and the band is then close enough to read. Since the numbers on the leg bands are so small, it is often hard to read when they are still alive. However, when enough photos are obtained or a camera is installed on a nest then the likelihood of reading the band on a live bird increases.  (more…)

Photo from the Field

Monday, September 15th, 2014
A new osprey platform is installed inside Sedge Island WMA. It replaces an antiquated design that is prone to predation by raccoons. This new 1-post platform will give ospreys their best chance at successfully raising young.

A new osprey platform is installed inside Sedge Island WMA. It replaces an antiquated design that is prone to predation by raccoons. This new 1-post platform will give ospreys their best chance at successfully raising young. © Ben Wurst

Photo from the field

Thursday, July 14th, 2011
Osprey numbers continue to rise!

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Three osprey nestlings were a common sight in many nests from Sedge Island to Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey. © Ben Wurst

Volunteers, CWF staff, and biologists with NJ Fish & Wildlife recently completed osprey nesting surveys throughout coastal areas of New Jersey. Each year these “osprey banders” complete “ground surveys” (referred to as ground surveys because they are surveying nests by land/sea, not by helicopter) that cover around 70% of the state population. I survey colonies on Barnegat Bay, Little Egg Harbor, and Absecon. The surveys are meant to keep track of the population and determine its health. During the surveys the banders access nesting areas mainly by boat since most ospreys nest in coastal areas or by water (their source of food). We use ladders to access nests where we count the number of young produced and then place an aluminum band on each of the young.  For the past two years we have also been collecting feather samples for a study being conducted by the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia where they are analyzing the stable isotopes to determine what ospreys are eating and how their diet has changed over time. More specifically they’ll be looking for changes in the isotope profiles across the local range of ospreys – something that has never been done before.

In one area, Sedge Island WMA, that I’ve surveyed for the past few years I surveyed 27 nests. 22 of those nests were occupied and produced a total of 47 young. 34 of those young were banded for future tracking. From the survey I can calculate the productivity or reproductive rate which is a measure of how healthy the population of that colony is. The productivity rate for Sedge Island is 2.14 young/active(known-outcome)nest this year which is the highest ever recorded (see chart at right for more details). These awesome results are the result of calm and mild weather conditions this spring and summer, high availability of prey, and possibly the increased amount of experienced breeding birds. Another factor that has surely helped to give the population a boost is the increased availability of suitable nest sites along the coast. Since 2004, I’ve helped to install more than 100 nesting platforms. Many of these platforms replaced old dilapidated structures and now give ospreys a better chance at successfully raising young that will eventually return to New Jersey to reproduce.