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Young ospreys only have a 50% chance of reaching adulthood.

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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.

Camera One (PTZ):
Camera Two (pinhole):

** For sound, please use the volume control on Camera Two (pinhole). **

NEWS: Welcome to the 2016 Osprey Cam season! The first egg was laid on April 17th.

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:

May 24

Image of The female takes a break from incubating on day 37. The female takes a break from incubating on day 37.

Day 37 of incubation is here. Hatch watch is on! So far this spring has been wet and cool. These are usually not good for ospreys, but it does look like the weather will trend to more seasonal temperatures this week with highs in the 80s. This is just the start of hatching at many nests throughout New Jersey, which is just in time for the start of the tourist season along the coast. As many people return to their summer vacation homes some will find that they might have ospreys who have built a nest on their house, boat or dock. It's important for everyone to know that nests, even those that do not contain eggs, cannot be removed without a permit. Those that do contain eggs or young are protected by both state and federal laws. To help give clear guidance on osprey nests and their removal in New Jersey we recently published "Living with Ospreys in New Jersey."

May 16

Image of The view from the new pinhole cam!The view from the new pinhole cam!

Thank you all for your patience! If we would have known that by hooking up a new pinhole camera would have caused the feed to be offline for 23 days then we would have NOT connected the camera. But, it is done and now streaming online.

Today is day 29 from when the first egg was laid on April 17. In New Jersery the average incubation time is around 36 days (next Monday for this nest). This pairs seems to incubate for a slightly longer period. In 2015 the first egg hatched on day 39 and in 2014 on day 39. Osprey eggs hatch in the order they are laid. Hatch watch begins on May 23rd.

Thank you to the US Fish and Wildlife staff for helping us get the new camera online!

April 25

While we all wait anxsiously for the network connection to be repaired, I figured that I could try and take the time to make a positive ID of both adults. In recent years researchers are using distintive features on birds to help identify individuals. With such great acvances in technology, we can now see things all over the world as they happen (and sometimes in HD!).

Let's start with the female, since she should be easiest.

Image of Comparison of 2015 and 2016 female.Comparison of 2015 and 2016 female.

She has very distint plumage on her breast (bold necklace of brown feathers) and her head. Besides the big white patch above her left nostril, she has two spikes of brown plumage behind her eye on her eye stripe. I noticed this in almost all of the photos of her. I noticed it so much that when I looked at a couple other snapshots of another female on the osprey cam nest I knew that that was not the same female (she also had a lighter necklace of brown feathers on her breast). So, I think it's safe to say that we have the same female back and the same that's been here since 2013 when we first installed the camera.

I need to get a few more good photos of the male. Right now I am not 100% sure that it's the same one as last year...

April 21

Unfortunately, the network is down at Forsythe NWR. To connect the new pinhole camera we need USFWS IT to port forward (change settings) on the router in the Visitor Center. The IT staff could not access the router to make the changes. Upon trying to reset the router all of the previous setting have been wiped and we have now lost the live feed to the camera. This is unfortunate because we will now miss the tail end of egg laying. The new router is not scheduled to be installed until early next week (Tuesday-Wednesday) at the earliest.

I wish I could say that we could fix this but we can't. The network equipment there is not under our control. We will keep you all updated as to when we hope to get both cameras online. Thanks for your patience!

April 19

Image of A view of the egg from the new pinhole camera.A view of the egg from the new pinhole camera.

It's hard to believe that it's been almost a month since my past entry here. Sorry for the lack of posts. It has been a whirlwind of busy fieldwork for me over the past three weeks. Finally I am trying to catch up...

The pair has been straight down to business this year, which is a clear sign that this is the same pair. We are still collecting images of their heads to use to help make a more positive ID and to save for future research.

The first egg was laid around 12pm on April 17th. Last year the first egg was laid on April 16th and it hatched on May 26th. Hatch watch will begin during the week of 5/22 (Day 36). The second egg should "arrive" later today.

Otherwise, here is some great info that Camera Moderator, Jim B. posted to the Interact Page:

"The egg begins as an ovum within the ovary where it enlarges by a factor of 1,000 or more as the yolk is laid down a process that likely takes about 2 weeks. Upon maturation, the egg then takes about 24 hours to pass down the oviduct during which time albumen and membranes are added. The shell is added over about a 24 hour period in the uterus. - making the egg shell is very energy expensive for the female to produce an egg, this is the exhausting part, not as many think, sitting on the eggs after they have been laid.

So, the egg is laid approximately 2 to 3 days after being fertilized. It takes well over 2 weeks to form a single egg. The ovum is released by the follicle that encloses it and enters the upper portion of the oviduct. It is in this location that the egg is fertilized. Several ova are being formed simultaneously in the ovary in order to produce a clutch. If everything is in sequence, the second ovum is maturing and ready to be fertilized as the first egg is laid. Timing is important in breeding and the purpose of courtship is to bring the pair into synchrony. Although sperm may be viable within the oviduct for some time, likelihood of fertilization drops after a couple of days. Mating occurs multiple times over a 2 week period in order to raise the odds of fertilizing ova as they mature in sequence to form the clutch."

-- Dr. Bryan Watts of the Center for Conservation Biology.

March 25, 2016

Good morning, osprey fans! After much effort you can see that our efforts have paid off. Over the past couple weeks with the help a several great volunteers we were able to get the osprey cam installed right before the birds arrived back. Here's what we did:

  • March 16 - we fixed the leaning nest, installed the components to get the sound working, installed new type 24 AGM batteries (2), installed the new pinhole camera system, and tested the PTZ camera to find that the network wire was bad.
  • March 18 - a new network wire was installed and the PTZ camera was successfully re-installed.
  • March 20 - both a male and female were seen perched on the nest. They both appeared to be "our birds" making this their 4th year at this nest.
  • March 24 - the new pinhole camera was adjusted and the main PTZ camera pole was better braced. Some network changes were made to get the PTZ camera online around 5pm.

As you can see, just a little effort went into getting this feed back online... If you feel compelled, please make a donation to help support this camera system!

Both birds arrived back in the morning of March 20th. Right on schedule. What they're doing now is building up their nest and strengthening their pair bond, after being separated for the winter. The male will perform a courtship display called the "sky dance" where he does a high undulating flight over the nest while calling with a high pitch whistle to the female who is below and usually perched on the nest. We are hoping to get the pinhole camera online next week.

Image of The new view from the pinhole camera.The new view from the pinhole camera.

March 9, 2016

The camera and new batteries will be installed before April 1. Stay tuned for more updates!

Osprey Cam Interaction

This subpage of the Osprey Cam is where viewers can watch, ask questions, and leave comments about ospreys and the camera system.

Osprey Cam FAQ

Here are some "Frequently Asked Questions" to accompany our Osprey Cam.

2013 Nest Cam News

Summary of news from the 2013 Osprey Cam season written by Ben Wurst.

2014 Nest Cam News

News from the 2014 nesting season for ospreys at the Forsythe NWR Osprey Cam.

2015 Nest Cam News

News and insight from the third season of the Forsythe NWR Osprey Cam.

  • 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

Learn more:
Multimedia of Ospreys: A Success Story (NJN video): The osprey was listed as endangered in 1974 after DDT and habitat loss decimated the population. The population dropped from 450-500 nesting pairs to only 53. Since the 70s the population has rebounded to historic levels. Here is a video of the New Jersey Osprey Recovery Project.

Ospreys: A Success Story (NJN video)

The osprey was listed as endangered in 1974 after DDT and habitat loss decimated the population. The population dropped from 450-500 nesting pairs to only 53. Since the 70s the population has rebounded to historic levels. Here is a video of the New Jersey Osprey Recovery Project.


Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager: Email


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