Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘wildlife’

Eagle Battles In New Jersey

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Wildlife Blogger Jim from Readings From The Northside was lucky enough to witness two bald eagles fighting over a deceased duck. He captured their battle on film and describes what he saw on his blog Readings From The Northside.

As the numbers of eagles increase in New Jersey, these type of disputes are becoming more common place. Eagles not only fight over food but territory as well. Several eagles have been found deceased or injured this past year due to conflicts with other eagles.

Learn more about Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s Eagle Project.

Eagles fight over duck at LBI @ Readings From the Northside

Eagles fight over duck at LBI @ Readings From the Northside

Eagles lock talons @ Readings From the Northside

Eagles lock talons @ Readings From the Northside

Celebrate GIS Day with Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Data nerds rejoice! Today, Wednesday, November 19 is GIS Day. Geographic information systems (GIS) technology helps our wildlife biologists protect rare species throughout New Jersey. GIS technology is used to create our species range maps and other important tools that show where wildlife occur and what habitat they need to exist.

Conserve Wildlife Foundation is a key player in updating the NJ Endangered and Nongame Species Program’s (ENSP) database of rare wildlife species. The database called “Biotics” is a GIS and Oracle-based system developed by NatureServe, the leading source of information on the precise locations and conditions of rare and threatened species and ecological communities in the Western Hemisphere.

Although CWF and ENSP biologists submit a majority of the data on Biotics, we rely on the help of citizen scientists to fully understand the wildlife picture in New Jersey. Do you want to help biologists monitor certain areas of the state and locate the presence of species of concern? Visit our website to learn how you can get involved.

In addition to the Biotics database, GIS was used to create range maps for all 190 species featured on our online field guide! Check it out.

Have you seen our American Oystercatcher Story Map? GIS was used to create that tool as well! A Story Map is a web-based interactive GIS map embedded with all kinds of content, like text, photographs, and video.

storymap
“American Oystercatchers Through the Seasons”
 tells the story about a species of migratory bird, the American Oystercatcher, which spends the summer breeding season along the New Jersey coast, and is present year-round along the southern New Jersey coast. Learn more about our Story Map.

This GIS Day, take a look at all of the maps around you and consider supporting additional Conserve Wildlife Foundation Story Maps!



Flying Fish Brewing Company Serves Plover Pale Ale, Highlights Importance of Piping Plover Conservation Programs

Monday, November 10th, 2014

“Beer, Birds and The Bahamas” Showcased the International Link
between the U.S. and The Bahamas for Piping Plovers

Todd and Stephanie explaining the Piping Plover Bahamas Project to guests at "Beer, Birds and The Bahamas."

Todd Pover and Stephanie Egger explaining the Piping Plover Bahamas Project to guests at “Beer, Birds and The Bahamas.”

On Thursday, November 6, over 85 guests attended “Beer, Birds and The Bahamas,” a fundraising event organized by Flying Fish Brewing Company and Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

Conserve Wildlife Foundation biologists, Todd Pover and Stephanie Egger educated guests about the Piping Plover “Bahamas Project” and showed the connection between The Bahamas and the U.S. for the endangered beach nesting bird species. One-night-only Plover Pale Ale was served and guests had the opportunity to attend brewery tours and play Plover Quizzo. The winners of Plover Quizzo received prize baskets full of Conserve Wildlife Foundation and Flying Fish Brewing Company merchandise.

“Events like ‘Beer, Birds and The Bahamas’ fulfill the purpose of creating a community space inside the Brewing Company,” said President of Flying Fish Brewing Company Gene Muller. “Our audience and Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s audience go hand in hand. People who appreciate wildlife and the environment also appreciate sustainably produced beer.”

“This innovative project is based on partnerships in both New Jersey and the Bahamas – bringing together distant communities who still share a strong commitment to education and a personal connection to their beaches,” said Conserve Wildlife Foundation Beach Nesting Bird Project Manager Todd Pover. “In the same vein, the event at Flying Fish Brewing was an exciting partner-driven way to promote the project.”

Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey’s Piping Plover Bahamas Project supports the recovery and long-term survival of Piping Plovers by identifying critical Bahamas wintering habitat for Piping Plovers and other shorebirds of concern on the islands of Abaco and Eleuthera, The Bahamas. Conserve Wildlife Foundation collaborates with a local Bahamas environmental group, Friends of the Environment, to engage the public and increase local awareness of the critical role played by the Bahamas in the full life cycle of the Piping Plover.

The Atlantic Coast population of Piping Plover has been federally listed as threatened in the U.S. since 1986 and endangered in Canada since 1985. Although migration and wintering protection is one of the five main recovery tasks in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Piping Plover Recovery Plan (USFWS 1996), until recently protection has primarily been focused on the breeding grounds. Furthermore, population monitoring is well understood on the breeding grounds, but winter use is not as well documented.

Over the past five years the importance of the Bahamas as a major wintering site for Piping Plovers has become increasingly evident.

Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey and other partners aim to identify critical wintering habitat, provide education and outreach to school children and the public, and build local capacity for future surveys and protection of Piping Plovers in the Bahamas. For more information, please visit our website.

Flying Fish Brewing will donate proceeds from the sale of Plover Pale Ale to the Bahamas Project by Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

Identifying with New Jersey’s Fascinating Bats

Friday, October 31st, 2014

Hard to believe, but October is already here! And that can only mean one thing – bats! Everyday throughout the month of October, follow CWF on social media and our blog to fly high with these incredible creatures of the night! Each day we will have fun facts, quizzes, and beautiful photos highlighting these amazing animals and the work CWF does to protect them.

Our previous coverage included an overview of bats in New Jersey from our biologist, a look into the threats bats are facing today, a reality check on some myths and legends surrounding bats, and shared some examples in ways you can get involved in our efforts to save bats. This week, for the final week of October, join CWF bat biologist Stephanie Feigin in the field! 

Make sure to follow us everyday on Facebook and Twitter and read our blog every Friday for our #31daysofbats!


by Stephanie Feigin

Stephanie Feigin and MacKenzie Hall monitoring a bat roost in an attic

Stephanie Feigin and MacKenzie Hall monitoring a bat roost in an attic

I think it is surprising how little people know about bats considering  how beneficial they are to humans. From eating the bugs that bite us and reducing the need for pesticides on our farms, to helping doctors learn the advantages of echolocation to the blind, knowledge of these important creatures should be at least as common as the sight of them flying overhead. Since I have started working on Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s bat projects, I have noticed just how fascinated people can be with bats, and how excited they are to learn more about these elusive creatures of the night.

In giving presentations on bats in New Jersey, I realize how many people still believe the myths about bats and generally regard them as spooky or creepy, not beneficial and cute I enjoy sharing my knowledge and experiences in order to correct the many misconceptions.The first time I saw a bat it was hiding behind a beam in the attic of an old church. I was shocked at how adorable and small the bat was, and I still get that same feeling every time I see some tiny bat ears poking out over top of a beam or tiny bat eyes looking back at me.

Every time I go out, whether it is to monitor a site where CWF has installed bat houses and do a bat count, or to assist other researchers in a banding survey of bats getting ready to hibernate, or even just to walk along the canal by my house with the acoustic detector, I have felt a connection to these animals. I love the dynamics of their roosts, the way they snuggle together for warmth, and the little chatter sounds they make when they are getting ready to go out to hunt for the night.

Keeled calcar on Indiana bat (c) MacKenzie Hall

Keeled calcar on Indiana bat (c) MacKenzie Hall

There is so much to learn and understand about bats. One thing I have especially loved learning is the subtle differences between one bat species from the next. Have you ever looked up and seen a bat flying overhead? But instead of just saying, “Hey, that’s a bat!” Have you ever spent time thinking, “I wonder what type of bat that is?” Well I have, and sometimes it is not that easy to decipher. We have nine different bat species in New Jersey. Some of these are easier to identify than others. The hoary bat, for example, is easily identified because it is largest bat in New Jersey, with bodies measuring from 5 to 6 inches and wingspans reaching up to 17 inches. These bats also have a lower frequency of call, making it easy to read on a sonogram.

Some of our other bat species however, possess very subtle and small differences, making them much harder to distinguish from one another. All four of these species are “cousins” and are part of the Myotis genus. In New Jersey, the bats in the Myotis genus are the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus), the Indiana bat (Myotis sodalist), the long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis), and the eastern small-footed bat (Myotis leibii).

Indiana bat (c) Stephanie Feigin

Indiana bat (c) Stephanie Feigin

In my opinion, it is the hardest to identify Indiana bats from little brown bats. One way to do this is by the length of their toe hairs. Indiana bats will have smaller toe hairs than the little brown bats, and they will not extend past their toenails. Indiana bats also have a keeled calcar, or a foot spur of cartilage, that supports the membrane between the foot and tail. This looks like a tiny strip of extra skin on the membrane between the bat’s foot and tail.

Another way to identify which bats are in the area is with the use of an acoustic detector. All of the myotis bats have very similar calls, all in the same frequency range, making it very hard to identify one bat from the other on a sonogram. Even the computer program we use will not take a guess as to which myotis it is because their calls are so similar! Since the first time I went out with the acoustic detector, I have been enthralled by the different chatters of the bats, from the feeding buzz to their chatters to each other while flying and hunting for food. I have gained a new perspective on the world of bats and me developed a true connection to these animals.

Big brown bats (c) MacKenzie Hall

Big brown bats (c) MacKenzie Hall

It is exciting to be a part of the bat projects at CWF and to have the opportunity to understand bats further, help research and implement ways to protect them, and educate the public about who these animals really are. They are not creepy, scary rodents who will attack you and fly into your hair. They are adorable, helpful mammals that I think everyone can find a way to appreciate, just like I have.

 Stephanie Feigin is a Wildlife Ecologist for the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

Big brown bats in N.J. thrive as smaller cousins decline

Saturday, October 25th, 2014
Big Brown Bats (c) Phil Wooldridge

Big Brown Bats (c) Phil Wooldridge

White-nose syndrome continues to kill off little brown bats in New Jersey, but there is hope on the horizon for another species of bat – the big brown bat. Reporter James O’Neill explores the changing fortunes of New Jersey’s bats.