Did you know?
Ospreys are an indicator species. The health of their population has implications for the health our coastal ecosystems.
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Barnegat Light Osprey Cam
Our osprey cam was first installed at Forsythe NWR in 2013. In the spring of 2019, we installed a new osprey cam in Barnegat Light.
Welcome to the home of the Barnegat Light Osprey Cam! We decided to pursue the installation of a camera system at this tall nest so that we can share the intimate life of ospreys with everyone from the Long Beach Island region and worldwide. This is the second year for this pair of ospreys at this nest site. Last year they produced two young which were banded for future tracking. As many know, ospreys are an important indicator species and reflect the health of their surrounding habitat. A healthy coastal ecosystem equals a booming shore economy and the ospreys indicate that we're doing a good job of protecting our coastal areas. You can help ospreys by reducing your dependence on single use plastics, eating sustainable/local caught seafood and by not releasing balloons.
Our goal is to increase awareness and protection of ospreys in New Jersey.
Activity at the nest is spreading like wildfire now! This morning before 8am the young (unbanded) male battled with a banded adult male. As you'll see in the video above the banded male won. He has been seen perched on the nest later this morning and there has been no sign of the young male. We shall see what plays out with regards to who wins over the female, and if that female is the same as last year (we need to get some good stills of her head to ID).
Otherwise, we mentioned that the new male is banded. Well, so far we've been able to read at least 3 digits of his federal bird band, which is 9 digits long -- xxxx-xx822. This alone tells us that this is NOT the same 12 year old male as last year, whose band ended in 033. A quick search of our banding records revealed at least 18 birds who have a suffix that ends in 822, but we suspect it is one bird who was banded close to Barnegat Light, at Sedge Islands. This is because males return very close to their natal areas to breed as adults and female tend to wander further away. This is likely to prevent inbreeding. The real fascinating component of this is that if the full band # of the male is 1088-08822, then he was banded on the same day as 90/C, a red banded osprey (fed band is: 1088-08825) who was observed on the nest on March 31!! They originated from different nests from inside Sedge Islands WMA. Great observatons using the camera system here to identify birds we've banded.
Well, things are really heating up here! Both birds who have been hanging on the nest over the past few days are new. The old male was banded and had a much more distinctive pale yellow iris. This new male is a young adult with a more orange tinted iris and little experience. He is mantling a lot and being very submissive to the female, who also appears to be new (I still have to get some good snapshots of her head to confirm). The male has made a few (unsuccessful) attempts to mate with this female this morning on the nest.
It is still early, so one from last year could still return and take back their nest. If they don't then this might be an interesting season to watch with a new pair attempting to nest for their first time...
At around 11am this morning a red banded bird landed on the nest long enough to get it on video and review to confirm its ID -- 90/C, who was banded as a nestling near the Spizzle Creek Bird Blind at Island Beach State Park. 90/C was one of three 5 week old nestlings who were banded on July 13, 2015. You can read more about that on the Island Beach Nature Programs Blog.
Yesterday morning two females landed on the nest - one after another. Neither appears to be the same female as last year. We can ID an individual bird by a couple different methods. One is their leg band (if banded). Another by the plumage on the top of their heads, which is like a fingerprint. The last is their iris, which can have dark pigmentation around their pupil.
More and more ospreys are returning to their summer breeding grounds. South winds aid in their northward migration in spring. At the osprey cam on Friday, a banded male was observed landing on the nest. He didn't stay long but you can see in the video that he is banded, so could this be our male? It's quite possible, but he hasn't been seen on the nest since. BW
Word on the interwebs is that an osprey was viewed on camera yesterday! I did not see myself and we did not yet have our internal network storage device installed, so we are relying on sightings from our faithful watchers on the report. It is still early for most birds to arrive back, but sightings have been coming in from coastal locations in Viginia, and Maryland. With more south winds, they will help push more spring migrants northward. With a very mild winter it's anything goes at this point. Last year we observed egg laying as early as April 9.
If you happen to catch a glimpse of an osprey on the nest, take a screen shot and hop on over to our interaction page and post it there to share your sighting. BW
If you haven't noticed, after popular demand, we decided to keep the Osprey Cam online all winter. While we should re-brand as the "Brant Cam," it is a great time to watch the seasonal shift in winter wildlife and weather. January seemed to fly by and there was little in the form of ice on the bay as opposed to last year, when the bay was frozen solid. It's no surprise as January was the warmest ever recorded worldwide and the 5th warmest in the US. As I type this I received notifications for a severe thunderstorm.
Anyway, ospreys are set to begin to their northward migration in the coming weeks. From now until they begin nesting, we have the big task of completing repairs at nests. This is something that would not be possible without our awesome volunteers! Next week we will release the 2019 NJ Osprey Project Report, so stay tuned for that. -Ben
2018: This platform was first used in 2018 after being installed many years ago by the Garden Club of LBI. We knew this would be the perfect site for a camera, with access to power and internet. We received a generous grant from the Osprey Foundation to install a new camera at this location in late 2018.
Early 2019: We presented our idea for a nest cam to the Town Council of the Borough of Barnegat Light and they enthusiastically approved.
February: We consulted with an electrian, ITS Electric Service LLC and they helped obtain construction permits and install service for us.
Late-March: Electric service was installed and the camera and associated equipment was attached to the osprey nest platform, after that was repaired by adding a new nest box.
- 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
Find Related Info: Osprey
Other Osprey Cams
Friends of Island Beach State Park, Island Beach, NJ
Friends of Forsythe Osprey Cam, Oceanville, NJ
Wetlands Institute, Stone Harbor, NJ
Blackwater NWR, MD
Terrapin Cove, Maurice River, NJ