Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘volunteer’

When An Eagle Nest Fails

Monday, April 2nd, 2018

Guest Blogger, Diane Cook: NJ Eagle Project Volunteer & Duke Farms nest monitor

Nature can be awe inspiring and beautiful. Watching a powerful bald eagle gently offer food to a newly hatched chick is amazing. Cheering awkward chicks walking on wobbly legs, and holding your breath when they take that first flight are the events live cam viewers look forward to year after year.

Duke Farms nest-2016

We are reminded of the harsh realities of nature too. Nest fails can and do happen. Many things can go wrong: storms, predators in the nest, or conflicts with other eagles and territorial disputes. Watching it happen live, can be heartbreaking. Every event is a learning experience for us all.

There is a sad ending this year at the Duke Farms nest. It was hard to see the adult pair defending their nest from younger interlopers again. Harder still was actually witnessing the failure of both eggs. Hatching is a complicated business. We’ve been fortunate to have many years of success. As watchers, we must take the good with the bad. This is nature after all.

So what do we do now? My love of nature and the bald eagle will have me seeking out other live cams, but missing my local wild family. I will remember the successes of past years. I will stare in amazement as I look up into the sky to watch a bald eagle soaring overhead.

Duke Farms- 2016

Life will go on. The cycle will continue, if not in “my” nest, in another. Nature will find its balance.  Thank you to Duke Farms and Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ for bringing us the live cam. Thank you to the state biologists who work every day to preserve and protect the wildlife in our state. 

See you next year for a new eagle nesting season.


Duke Farms Eagles-Waiting For The Hatch

Friday, March 16th, 2018

Has it Begun?

Guest Blogger, Diane Cook: NJ Eagle Project Volunteer & Duke Farms nest monitor

Egg 1 was laid on February 14th this year. Bald Eagle eggs are incubated for about 35 days. That means the first hatch could be next week, Wednesday, March 21st! What are the signs hatching has begun? As an observer for many years, viewing the live cam has taught me much. These are some behaviors I’ve seen in the past to alert me that hatching will soon begin or is already underway.

Believe it or not, the adult and chick can “talk” to each other through the shell. Watch for the adults to stand over the eggs with their heads bent closer to them. You may even see movement of the adult’s bill, as it “chirps” to its chick inside the egg.

If food begins to show up in the nest, the adults could be preparing for another mouth to feed. They are stocking the “pantry”.

Restless adults, with lots of moving around on the nest, or more frequent egg rolls, is another sign to watch carefully. When you get a clear view of the eggs, look for a tiny hole or a spider web-like cracking. This first hole in the shell is called a pip, and is made by the chick. The chicks do all the work!

Pips can be difficult to spot with protective adults blocking the view. You may wonder if you are looking at a spot of dirt or piece of grass on the egg or a real pip. Trust your eyes and keep watching, that pip will increase in size. This is exhausting and hard work for a little one. The complete hatching process can sometimes takes a day or two.

It is amazing to watch the progress once the first pip has appeared. Get ready for the most eggciting time of year for eagle watchers!


Eagles and Nor’easters

Thursday, March 8th, 2018

Larissa Smith: CWF, Wildlife Biologist

We are honored to have Diane Cook as a guest blogger, over the next few months. Diane will be discussing Duke Farms eagle cam and how she uses it in her classroom. Diane is a K-2 Technology Literacy teacher at both Copper Hill and Robert Hunter Elementary schools.  She has been an avid and enthusiastic eagle cam viewer since 2008 and now she is the official nest monitor for the Duke Farms nest.  As the monitor Diane records important data into the Eagle Project database, Nest Story. Diane also uses the eagle cam in her classroom and was the winner of a contest held by Duke Farms and CWF in 2015, to choose the best bald eagle lesson plan.

Diane was home from school during yesterday’s snowstorm and able to document the eagles during the storm.

March 7, 2108, Diane Cook’s blog

Thankfully the live cam was back up and running by the time school started on Monday following the first Nor’easter to hit our part of NJ. Was glad to be able to tell the students all was well, and that they could see for themselves! The good news was soon replaced by worry with yet another Nor’easter predicted for today. The day began slowly. Yes, it was snowing, but lightly. Things didn’t look too bad.

Within minutes, the snow really picked up in intensity. The storm hit quickly and the snow fell fast and heavy. Within minutes snow had covered the ground.

There was an exchange at some point on the nest. Mom won the rights to incubation. Then something I’ve never seen before happened. BOTH eagles stayed on the nest through the storm. They laid side by side.

Thanks to Charles T. Barreca who mans the camera at Duke Farms for the awesome close up view. As the camera moved, the eagles looked up at the noise.

They would shake off the snow, but remained on the nest together.

More snow fell. Still the eagles sat.

Finally the male flew off the nest, but stayed on a nearby branch.

No matter how much snow fell, these dedicated parents remain with their eggs and incubation continues.


New Year brings a new amphibian!

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

by Allegra Mitchell, Wildlife Biologist

 

Each New Year promises an exciting year ahead, and conservation science is no exception! As biologists gear up for the field season, CWF’s amphibian programs are particularly noteworthy.

 

Our Amphibian Crossing Project has made major strides in protecting the frogs, toads, and salamanders migrating to breeding areas, and we’re launching a new program this year to better document the newly discovered mid-Atlantic coast leopard frog. You can help CWF biologists collect data and save these fragile creatures.

 

Read below for more details about each program. In the meantime, if you would like to support CWF’s amphibian programs, please visit our YouCaring page here: https://www.youcaring.com/conservewildlifefoundationofnewjersey-1091698 . Your contribution will help us develop training materials and cover research expenses to protect our most vulnerable frogs and salamanders!

 

Amphibian Crossing: A New Twist on an Old Program

The long-standing Amphibian Crossing Project, established in partnership with the New Jersey Endangered and Nongame Species Program (ENSP) in 2002, has been organizing dedicated volunteers each spring to chauffer migrating amphibians across roads as they trek from their upland hibernation sites to their breeding ponds. This program has saved thousands of frogs, toads, and salamanders from vehicle strikes so that local amphibian population sizes can be maintained, which is especially important for species of concern, such as the Jefferson and spotted salamanders.

 

Seeking a more long-term solution to the amphibian road mortality problem at the Amphibian Crossing Project’s top site, ENSP has finally secured funding to construct crossing structure system for amphibians to move safely across Waterloo Road in Byram Township, Sussex County. This system, including under-road tunnels and guide fencing, will help amphibians avoid problems on the road all season long. CWF is preparing its second year of monitoring along Waterloo Road to track the changes in amphibian vehicle-caused mortality before and after this system is installed.

 

Leopard Frogs: A New Program for a New Species

This year marks the launch of CWF’s Kauffeld’s Calling Frogs program. Similar to New Jersey’s Calling Amphibian Monitoring Program (CAMP), volunteers will listen and document frog calls during the breeding season. Kauffeld’s Calling Frogs, however, will focus specifically on the newly discovered mid-Atlantic coast leopard frog. This frog, named after the late avid herpetologist Carl Kauffeld, had been mistaken as a member of the southern leopard frog species for decades. Only recently was it determined to be a separate species with unique habitat requirements.

 

Despite only being an official species since 2014, it is already considered a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in New York, and may be declining from other portions of its range. CWF biologists are eager to document the current extent of this frog’s range within New Jersey in order to monitor the population for possible declines. Knowing where this species is found is the foundation for future research into its habitat needs and threats.

 

Getting the Public Involved

These amphibian programs cannot move forward without the dedication of CWF volunteers. Over 100 volunteers have been involved with the Amphibian Crossing Project, and a dozen more dedicated at least a day a week for months to monitor Waterloo Road amphibian mortality. With the success of CAMP in mind, this first year of Kauffeld’s Calling Frogs promises to be full of new frog population discoveries.

 

Make sure to follow CWF on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest updates on our amphibian programs as the season progresses!

 

And consider supporting our YouCaring amphibian campaign here: https://www.youcaring.com/conservewildlifefoundationofnewjersey-1091698 .

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…)

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