Did You know:
Young ospreys only have a 50% chance of reaching adulthood.
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Please consider making a tax-dedectible donation to support the Forsythe NWR Osprey Cam!
Thank you to everyone who has watched and support the Osprey Cam at Edwin B. Forsythe NWR in Oceanville. It streams 24/7 (when there is sufficient power supply) and is powered by solar charged batteries.
The camera you're watching was installed by Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey staff and volunteers in the spring of 2013. It is a high resolution, wireless camera (with sound!) on this osprey nest at Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Oceanville, NJ. The purpose of this camera is to engage the public in osprey protection and to educate them about the challenges to osprey recovery. The live feed is broadcast here 24/7 during the nesting season for ospreys from March through August. Educational content is currently being developed.
The use of this camera will also be used to help identify the breeding pair of ospreys by their leg bands (if they can be read). This information will help us determine their site fidelity, age, and migration routes. It will also be used to gain more useful information on the use of trash as nesting material and its link to their reproductive success. We also plan to develop a detailed installation guide with the tools and resources for other land managers and biologists to install this same type of remote camera system at other locations, which is in the works.
Our goal is to increase awareness and protection of ospreys in New Jersey.
The development of an educational program will help viewers and future conservationists learn about ospreys and the challenges they face in the future. It will focus on osprey identification, habitat preferences, their historic decline (and why they need nesting platforms now), prey availability and links to reproductive success, and how people can help by reducing disturbance and monitoring nest sites.
Nest Cam News:
Both young are still hanging around the nest. They must be spoiled! The male has been providing them plenty of food. Soon, they will need to provide for themselves. It's life of death once fall migration kicks in, so they had better get out there and start foraging on their own.
In other news, our admin access and control of the camera here has been lost. Our login was apparently hacked. We can still control the camera for now, but that could be taken away at anytime. To regain control and admin access we need to take down the camera and reset it while it's in hand. We are hoping to hold off on that until September, so for now things are touch and go...
Both young have fledged! The first around 10 days ago and the second 2 days later. As anyone who has watched the nest, you can see how they make their first flights. Once their feathers are fully developed, at around 7-8 weeks of age, they jump and flap to strengthen their wing muscles. Eventually they take off and make their first flight. With enough practice (and confidence) they fly further and further from the nest. At this time the young are still dependent on the adults for food. The adults will offer whole prey items for them to practice feeding themselves once they learn to find and catch prey on their own. A great place to visit during the late summer time of year is our ocean front beaches. There you can watch these young birds fish in the surf. When out on the bays, look up and you'll see families of ospreys kettling high in the sky as they also learn to use thermals to soar in preparation for fall migration.
It won't be long until the female at this nest starts to head south. She is the first to start her migration, which typically begins in mid-August. Watch and contribute your sightings of the nest on our Interaction page.
Thankfully, things have been quiet at the Osprey Cam nest. While we were thinking about banding at the nest this year, that opportunity has passed. The young are now 6 weeks old and will be flying soon. Now they are busy looking beyond the nest. Watching birds flying past the nest and grabbing prey from the adults to feed themselves. They are growing very quickly and will soon be on their own. At six weeks of age young ospreys feathers are almost fully developed. Their flight feathers just have a small amount left in pin (blood feather). They are fiesty when approached and not afraid to confront any threats that approach.
We are happy that this nest continues to be successful. Banding the young will not give us any new information about where they go, so we are also happy to allow them the peace and quiet of their nest on the saltmarsh at Forsythe NWR.
It's been a while since our last update... The young ospreys are now 3 weeks old and old enough to be banded. All has ben pretty quiet at this nest. The adults are likely happy only having to feed two young instead of three. A nice change of pace over previous years. Two young is also not abnormal. It is actually preferred. We'd rather see less young that are very well fed, than more young that are not well fed. The only concern of late was thunderstorms that passed through last night, but they were luckily not too intense along the coast. We are extremely optimistic for a calm summer season (weather wise) with no high straight line wind events that can do damage to active nests and blow young from nests.
Next week, we will begin our 2017 Osprey Surveys and Census, where we will be asking for the public to help report activity at known osprey nest sites on Osprey-Watch.org. This is the first time we will be conducting a statewide census since 2014 using input from volunteer Osprey Watchers.
In other news, we will be hosting our first Osprey related LIVE Q&A on YouTube on Friday evening at 7pm. There we will discuss all things osprey including the annual nest census and information that viewers can use to help determine the outcome of nests that they are watching.
We have hatching! The first of the two eggs hatched yesterday morning and the second hatched this morning!! I was sent the image above by one of our camera controllers. I didn't notice the hatchling until I looked at the photo a second time. Oh my! Was it time to start to plan a rescue mission? Possibly.
Shortly thereafter, I got another photo, which then showed no ribbon in the nest bowl. Good thing the adults managed to get that mess of plastic trash out of harms way...for now... A sad depiction of life as we know it now, in our consumerism based, disposable lifestyle. Plastic that we use today will be around forever...
As I say in more of these situations, at least we have a camera to watch as the situation unfolds. Without such amazing technology (to have a remote, solar powered camera on the middle of the saltmarsh) we would not know of such a problem. There are over 500 pairs of nesting ospreys along the coast and many more could be threatened by our irresponsible disposal (or reckless littering) of plastic trash, including the intentional release of balloons. Osprey use plastic as nesting material and to "decorate" nests. Sadly, it is becoming quite a common nest construction item and some mimics natural nesting material, like eelgrass (ribbon), sea lettuce (plastic bags), and sticks (plastic toys).
You can help by reducing your use of single use plastic, reduce, reuse, recycle, participate in local watershed based cleanups (the Barnegat Bay Blitz is on June 7!), not releasing balloons, and talking to your friends about how important this is to us, our environment, and the critters that depend on it to survive!
We're now on day 35 of incubation. Hatch watch begins tomorrow. With the recent cool and wet weather, it could affect the survival of other nests that are hatching along the coast of New Jersey. Despite being semi-altrical at hatching, which means being downy and able to see, osprey young are very vulnerable after hatching. They need very close parental care (to be fed and kept warm) and without it, will not survive.
We're hopeful that the trend of wet, cool weather ends soon. When looking at the forecast for the next 7 days, most days look mild with sunny skies.
As you can now see, we finally got the PTZ camera online and it's now streaming here and on YouTube. The pinhole camera will be hosted on YouTube later today and we will update the page when that happens.
In other news, we're beginning to spread the word about the 2017 Osprey Census, where we are seeking observations by the public of active osprey nests throughout the state. These sightings will help us determine the overall size of distribution of ospreys in the state. You can see all known nest sites on Osprey Watch, a global osprey watching community.
Sorry for my lack of updates! We finally got admin. access to the main (PTZ) camera during the last week of April; however, we have not been able to stream the camera online due networking issues. We are trying to get those issues resolved and hope to get the main feed online soon.
In other news, this year the female only laid two eggs. This is nothing wrong with this. In fact, it is almost preferred, since it will take less effort on the part of the adults to provide from only two hungry mouths instead of three. In turn, we will likely see less sibling rivalry this year, unless prey is scarce.
Luckily we were able to get the pinhole camera (located on the nest) back online the day before the first egg was laid! Viewers noticed the egg at around 7:11 pm. Ospreys begin incubation after the first egg is laid. The eggs hatch in order of being laid, so this egg will hatch first. Over the past 4 years, the eggs have been incubated for an average of 39 days (36 - 2013, 40 - 2014, 40 - 2015, 39 - 2016). Like previous years, hatch watch will start on May 26 (day 36).
She should be on two eggs by now. Hopefully we will get a view of them today. If you see an incubation exchange and capture a view of them, please post to our interaction page!
In other news, we have been extremely frustrated with the delay in getting the camera(s) back online. We still do not have access to the main camera at the nest. We will continue to ask for USFWS to fix the networking issues...
We do have access to the admin side of the network camera, however, we are not able to stream it online without more changes by USFWS.
Eggs should be laid any day now. In 2015 the female laid the first egg on April 16 and in 2016, she laid it on April 17.
Yesterday, we visited Forsythe NWR to try and diagnose and repair the osprey cam. Upon arrival to the refuge, our first step is to hook up a laptop to the network switch (where the camera equipment is attached to the local network). To our surprise, the camera(s) and audio came right up! We expected the worst case scenerio, a broken component at the nest... Luckily, that is not the case. Instead, construction at the refuge has changed the local network and taken the camera offline. This should be an easy fix, so we hope that USFWS IT staff can fix the issue ASAP, because the pair is back! They have been back for several days, since a nice bed of spartina lines the bowl of their nest. Eggs should be coming soon! We hope not before the camera gets back online...
March 23, 2017
While anxiously awaiting the return of the nesting pair, this past weekend's weather seems to have caused the camera to not come back online. Right now we are unsure of the problem, since the camera is located in the middle of the saltmarsh, access is not so easy... We are planning to visit the nest and camera system next week, with generous transport by USFWS's airboat. In the meantime, we will keep our fingers crossed for the camera to come back online.
- Summer 2012 - Acquired funding to purchase and install wireless HD camera
- Fall 2012 - Atlantic white-cedar pole for camera mounting donated by Schairer Brothers Sawmill in Egg Harbor City
- October 2012 - E.B. Forsythe NWR Wildlife Drive impacted by Hurricane Sandy
- January 2013 - Camera system designed by JES Hardware Solutions, video hardware installed in Forsythe NWR Visitor's Center, and solar panels prepped for install
- February 2013 - Solar panels, battery components, data transfer equipment, and camera were installed and wired
- March 2013 - Live feed began streaming
- 2014 Osprey Project Report
- New Jersey Osprey Monitoring Project (NJOP): information about how we help monitor and manage the state population in partnership with NJ Fish & Wildlife's Endangered and Nongame Species Program
Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager: Email
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