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Ospreys can dive 3.3 feet into water and successfully catch fish.

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Osprey Cam

Welcome to the 2015 nesting season for Ospreys in New Jersey! This camera is located within 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 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. This year we're working on developing an educational program that will be used to educate the public about ospreys, their threats, recovery efforts, and ways people can help, which includes the creation of a tri-fold brochure.

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:
Image of Day 32 of incubation. When do you think the first egg will hatch? Day 32 of incubation. When do you think the first egg will hatch?

May 18

Sorry for my lack of updates! It's a least good sign that it's business as usual: incubation. Today marks day 32 from when the first egg was laid on April 16th. Ospreys exhibit asyncronous hatching, so the eggs hatch in the order they are laid. The range for incubation in osprey eggs is from 32-43 days. The average in NJ is around 36 days. Hatch watch begins this week!

April 27

Image of Three eggs are clearly visible in the nest bowl!Zoom+ Three eggs are clearly visible in the nest bowl!

And then there were three! The third egg was laid on April 25 (Earth Day). Incubation averages around 35 days in NJ. Last year it lasted a total of 40 days though. With cooler temperatures this spring we might also see a delayed hatch date of the first egg. Hatch watch starts on May 22 (day 35). During incubation you'll notice that the female does the majority of the incubation while the male does all of the foraging. After a successful hunt he almost always feeds himself first (away from the nest) and then offers food to the female. If we had sound that worked then we might hear the female begging for food while the male mantles his catch. Mantling is where the male is reluctant to share his food with his mate. It's often seen in young pairs. You can read more about this behavior on my good friend's blog. He flies to their nest and transfers the prey to her and she flies to a nearby perch to feed. Their diet varies throughout the season. Main prey items in NJ include: bunker or menhaden, flouder/fluke, with occasional striped bass, bluefish, trout, freshwater bass and whatever else is an easy catch! What have you seen them catch? Join the convo. on our interaction page!

April 21

Quick update: Pair is now on two eggs! First was laid on April 16 ~ 4:45pm. Then the second egg was laid on April 19 ~ 5:00pm. If we're lucky we might see the third egg today!

Ospreys exhibit asynchronous hatching, so they start incubating when the first egg is laid. This is a natural adaptation that allows the oldest and strongest nestling to survive when the availability of prey is low.

The average incubation period for NJ is 36 days (it varies from only 32 days to 43). We should see hatching during the third week of May.

April 9

Image of Looks like she's got a full crop!Looks like she's got a full crop!

As far as we know, it appears that the birds are the same as last year. When we get some good, calm weather with both birds on the nest I'll get some high res. photos to compare to the previous two years. The have been seen copulating over the past several days on the nest. The male has been slowly adding nesting material, which is mostly collected from within view of the nest. The poor conditions of the past few days have been rough. Strong winds, rain and cloudy conditions make for poor visibility for fishing. But, trout have been stocked throughout the state and bunker are schooling off the coast.

Last year the first egg was laid on April 19. They arrived back earlier this year, so that might indicate that the female will lay slightly sooner. My bet is on egg laying to occur on April 14! :)

March 31

Today, with help from a bunch of great volunteers, we dropped the osprey cam pole and replaced the old IR light. Before walking out to the nest I saw the male performing courtship displays over the nest for the female. The female was perched on the nest when we walked out there. She flew off peacefully and perched in a nearby tree. Everything else with the camera looked good. We removed the audio components to save power for the camera and fix what has caused them to not work since the beginning..

The pair will continue to work on the nest and strengthen their pair bond. Eggs are usually laid in mid-April.

Thank you to the guys to who helped me out today, Bob, Dave, Tim and Kyle and for those who donated to support the Osprey Cam. Thanks! --Ben

March 25

Both birds are back! Female arrived on March 19th and male showed up yesterday, March 24. Both birds returned earlier this year. I'm not sure why. Weather has been unseasonably cool since the start of the year. Hopefully things will warm up soon!

I haven't gotten a good look at the male, but so far it appears that both are the same as last year.

March 12

I've seen some reports of some early spring osprey migrants. Usually some start to show up at nests along the D. Bay, specifically the Maurice River at this time of March. Usually they arrive a bit later on the Atlantic Coast. Days with south winds help push spring migrants north. Each and every day will be bringing more migratory birds north.

In the meantime, we have work to do. Currently the infrared light is not working properly. It has power but at night, we have no IR light...We have found out that getting an advanced replacement is not an option, so we're walking on eggshells to try and find a replacement unit asap. The sound is still another issue. We have re-wired the microphone two times already and still get some kind of interference/white noise. We hope to try and diagnose this when we go out one last time in the next 2 weeks to do any last minute work.

February 3, 2015

Image of Comparison between the adult ospreys that nest at the Osprey Cam. Both are unbanded.Comparison between the adult ospreys that nest at the Osprey Cam. Both are unbanded.

Welcome to another season for the Forsythe Osprey Cam! Over the next month we'll be conducting some maint. to the camera system which we hope will improve the viewing experience.

  1. The old network swtich will be replaced with a new unit that has a fan to keep the unit cool (since this is what we believe caused the camera to go offline last July).
  2. The microphone wire will be replaced (all we get is static right now) so hopefully sound will finally work for us this year!
  3. The IR light will be fixed.
  4. The camera lens housing will be cleaned.

Only 45 more days until Spring and when ospreys return to NJ! Last year the female returned on March 30 and the male on April 3.

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.

Nest Cam News - 2013

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

Nest Cam News - 2014

News from the 2014 nesting season for ospreys at 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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