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For the 2013 Osprey Census, we released the locations of 1,000 osprey nest sites. Ospreys are an indicator species and the health of their population has implications for us and our environment.

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Osprey Project

Conserve Wildlife Foundation plays an active role in helping to manage and protect Ospreys in New Jersey.

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NEWS: Project RedBand is underway! Learn about our new osprey resighting project in New Jersey!

Historically, before the effects of DDT caused the state's osprey population to decline, over 500 osprey nests could be found along New Jersey's coastline. By 1974 only 50 nests remained. The effects of DDT in the food chain caused reproduction to fail, and habitat was lost with a burgeoning shore population that eliminated many trees and increased ground predator populations. In New Jersey the osprey was listed as endangered in 1974 by the state. Recovery began when DDT use was banned in 1968 in New Jersey. Biologists began to place young and eggs from nests where DDT was not used as heavily into nests that failed to produce young, year after year. Then they coordinated efforts to supply man-made nest platforms for the birds. These new artificial nest platforms replaced the snags and trees that were lost as the barrier islands became more developed.

Historically, before the effects of DDT caused the state's osprey population to decline, over 500 osprey nests could be found along New Jersey's coastline. By 1974 only 50 nests remained.

By 1986 the osprey population had surpassed 100 pairs, sparking the decision to upgrade their status to threatened in the state. Since that time, the Endangered and Nongame Species Program staff has worked to monitor and manage the population, tracking their nest success every year with a core group of volunteers, and censusing the population every three years. In 2006 the NJ osprey population hit a new post-DDT record of just over 400 active nests, not far below the estimated historic population of 450 to 500 nests. In 2009, 486 nesting pairs were found and in 2011 biologists decided the postpone the next aerial survey until 2013.

Image of Ben Wurst surveys a nest on Barnegat Bay while an adult ospreys watches overhead.Zoom+ Ben Wurst surveys a nest on Barnegat Bay while an adult ospreys watches overhead. © Northside Jim

The Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ plays an active role in helping to manage and protect the statewide population of ospreys. It is our goal to help the population recover to the historic level of over 500 nesting pairs. Our Osprey Project seeks to raise private funding through donations, fund-raising campaigns, platform sponsorships, and educational presentations to help ospreys in New Jersey. We also sponsor Eagle Scouts with projects that seek to install osprey platforms along coastal areas of New Jersey.

Since 2004, we have installed over 100 nesting platforms throughout New Jersey, most in areas where suitable habitat exists with few nesting structures. We have concentrated most of our work on Barnegat Bay, Little Egg Harbor, and Great Bay. We work very closely with the Endangered and Nongame Species Program and assist with osprey surveys and nestling banding during the nesting season from April 1 - September 31.

To follow our work with ospreys, follow NJ Osprey Project on Facebook.


HOW WE CAN HELP

We offer technical assistance to private consulting firms, individuals, school groups, environmental commissions, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and anyone else who is interested in constructing and installing osprey nesting structures. We've consulting with individuals and contractors throughout the United States to help identify and install or repair osprey nesting structures.

In New Jersey, we work with the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife to help manage and monitor a very large database of existing nesting structures. We can help you choose the most suitable location to place a platform so it will not negatively impact any other species that live in the coastal area of the state.

We can provide maps, platform plans (see Publications below), and in some cases an actual platform. Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information or if you have a question.


HOW YOU CAN HELP

Volunteer
Image of We help maintain hundreds of osprey nesting platforms along the coast of NJ. Please make a donation today to help us keep them all in good condition!Zoom+ We help maintain hundreds of osprey nesting platforms along the coast of NJ. Please make a donation today to help us keep them all in good condition!

Volunteers have been a very important component to the successful recovery of ospreys in New Jersey. We engage volunteers in all aspects of this conservation project. From constructing nesting platforms to installing them, we could use your help! Opportunities vary throughout the year and events occur on weekdays and weekends to help engage more people in our Osprey Project.

SPONSOR AN OSPREY PLATFORM

Do you live near suitable osprey habitat (generally any open area near water) in the coastal zone of New Jersey? Are you interested in supporting the long term recovery of ospreys in New Jersey?

If so, we can use your support! Since 2007, CWF has been collecting private donations from individuals, civic groups, organizations, and businesses to install, repair, and/or replace artificial nesting platforms for ospreys to support the New Jersey Osprey Project. For a small donation we will choose a suitable installation location and construct, transport, and install the platform. Donors are welcome and encouraged to help with all aspects of the project. Contact Ben if you'd like to sponsor an osprey platform!

ADOPT AN OSPREY PLATFORM

Each year more and more platforms become damaged or even disappear during the winter months. With this new program individuals can "adopt" an existing osprey nest platform. Your donation will make sure this platform stays in pristine condition. If it ever become damaged or needs repair, we'll be there to do the work. Contact Ben for more information.

Multimedia of Osprey Platform Install: Follow along while Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ and two of his friends volunteer to help install an osprey platform off Long Beach Island on Barnegat Bay in 2010. Support our efforts to protect wildlife, make a donation today!

Osprey Platform Install

Follow along while Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ and two of his friends volunteer to help install an osprey platform off Long Beach Island on Barnegat Bay in 2010. Support our efforts to protect wildlife, make a donation today!

EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS

Schedule an educational "New Jersey Osprey Project" presentation, which covers Osprey identification, life history, project history, human impacts, and surveying techniques. This is a great program for schools, civic organizations and scouting groups.


Marine Debris: A threat to ospreys, our indicator species

Image of Ospreys use trash as nesting material because (sadly) it is a plentiful resource that collects in the upper areas of the saltmarsh. It is a deadly component of their nests that easily entangles them. Do your part and pick up litter if you see it.Ospreys use trash as nesting material because (sadly) it is a plentiful resource that collects in the upper areas of the saltmarsh. It is a deadly component of their nests that easily entangles them. Do your part and pick up litter if you see it. © Ben Wurst

We've all seen the negative effects that we can have on our environment. One that we've been passionate about documenting and raising awareness about is the occurance of plastic marine debris in osprey nests. Litter is almost everywhere and that includes active osprey nests. It winds up in the high marsh areas along our coast and that is where ospreys have always collected natural nesting material (sticks, eelgrass, muck, grasses and reeds). This new nesting material is not so safe for ospreys and their young. They can become easily entangled in ribbon from released balloons, monofilament from unwary fishermen, rope or twine, from lost crab pots or bait bags. For the past two years we've collected (and saved) trash we find in and around active nests. We're using this trash (aka marine debris) to use as a tool to help educate the public about this emerging threat to the ospreys and the health of our coastal ecosystem.

Please help us by sharing this blog post about the issue. To make the biggest impact, reduce the amount of trash you produce, reuse what you can’t recycle, recycle things that can be repurposed into new goods, and participate in local beach or stream cleanups! Thanks!!

TAKE ACTION!! ----> Download a fact sheet to learn more and share with your friends!
Download Ospreys and Plastic Marine Debris

Ospreys and Plastic Marine Debris - 492.4KB
Each year, while conducting nesting surveys, we collect persistant plastic marine debris from active nests. The debris can be life threatening to ospreys and other marine life. The problem is only getting worse... Download this fact sheet to learn more about ways you can help our ospreys.


Learn More:
Publications:
Download Ospreys and Plastic Marine Debris

Ospreys and Plastic Marine Debris - 492.4KB
Each year, while conducting nesting surveys, we collect persistant plastic marine debris from active nests. The debris can be life threatening to ospreys and other marine life. The problem is only getting worse... Download this fact sheet to learn more about ways you can help our ospreys.

Download 2013 New Jersey Osprey Project Newsletter

2013 New Jersey Osprey Project Newsletter - 106.2KB
Annual newsletter that reports findings and results from the 2013 Osprey Census. Ospreys had a banner year, where productivity averaged 1.92 young/active nest. 777 young were produced from 405 nesting pairs. 488 young were banded for future tracking.

Download Osprey Platform Plans

Osprey Platform Plans - 889.0KB
Information about the construction and placement of osprey nesting platforms.

Download Guidelines for Maintenance at Communication Towers that Support Raptor Nests in New Jersey

Guidelines for Maintenance at Communication Towers that Support Raptor Nests in New Jersey - 49.4KB
This publication is meant to be a guide for companies that manage and maintain communication towers in New Jersey that support raptor nests. It offers key points of contact with NJ Fish and Wildlife and CWF and offers information on what to do when you encounter an active osprey or eagle nest throughout the year.

Download Adopt a Species - Osprey

Adopt a Species - Osprey - 206.6KB
Detailed information about Ospreys in New Jersey.

Image of Ben Wurst prepares to band a young osprey produced at a nest off High Bar, Barnegat Bay, NJ. This one of 62 young that were banded with a new red auxiliary band as part of Project RedBand.Ben Wurst prepares to band a young osprey produced at a nest off High Bar, Barnegat Bay, NJ. This one of 62 young that were banded with a new red auxiliary band as part of Project RedBand. © Northside Jim
Download 2006 New Jersey Osprey Project

2006 New Jersey Osprey Project - 138.4KB
Annual newsletter that reports findings and results from the year's osprey survey. In 2006, the population reached 400 pairs, a post-DDT milestone, and not far from the historic estimates of over 500 pairs. The combination of abundant prey and mild weather created favorable conditions for ospreys.

Download 2007 New Jersey Osprey Project

2007 New Jersey Osprey Project - 113.6KB
Annual newsletter that reports findings and results from the year's osprey survey. The population has grown by 61% from 1997-2006. Good weather allowed for successful nesting this year.

Download 2008 New Jersey Osprey Project

2008 New Jersey Osprey Project - 210.6KB
Annual newsletter that reports findings and results from the year's osprey survey. A very strong Nor'easter hit in the middle of May, when many ospreys were incubating, but it did not cause many failures. Ospreys had another great year in 2008.

Download 2009 New Jersey Osprey Project

2009 New Jersey Osprey Project - 157.1KB
Annual newsletter that reports findings and results from the year's osprey survey. Aerial surveys this year found 485 nesting pairs in 2009! It was another record year for ospreys. 547 young were produced from 345 nesting pairs.

Download 2010 New Jersey Osprey Project

2010 New Jersey Osprey Project - 178.0KB
Annual newsletter that reports findings and results from the year's osprey survey. The osprey population had a banner year in 2010. Just over 600 young were produced and average productivity was 2 young/nest.

Download 2011 New Jersey Osprey Project

2011 New Jersey Osprey Project - 74.4KB
Annual newsletter that reports findings and results from the year's osprey survey. The osprey population had a banner year in 2011. 612 young were produced and average productivity was just over 2 young/nest.

Download 2012 New Jersey Osprey Project Newsletter

2012 New Jersey Osprey Project Newsletter - 76.5KB
Annual newsletter that reports findings and results from the year's osprey survey. Results from the 2012 Osprey nesting survey in New Jersey. Ospreys had another great year where productivity averaged 1.81 young/active nest. 599 young were produced from 331 nesting pairs. 431 young were banded for future tracking.


Image of New Jersey Osprey Project in the news! Cover of The Sandpaper, June 8th, 2011.Zoom+ New Jersey Osprey Project in the news! Cover of The Sandpaper, June 8th, 2011. Courtesy of The Sandpaper
In the News:
Download The Sandpaper article - July 8, 2008

The Sandpaper article - July 8, 2008 - 2.0MB
Read an article by Angela Anderson about our efforts to help the osprey population recover to historic levels.

Download The Sandpaper article - September 17, 2008

The Sandpaper article - September 17, 2008 - 915.1KB
Read an article by Angela Anderson and see photos of osprey platforms that were installed in Loveladies in Fall 2008.

Download The Sandpaper article - November 10, 2010

The Sandpaper article - November 10, 2010 - 642.4KB
An article by Angela Anderson about the record year for ospreys in 2010.


Historic Documents:
Download Osprey Egg Transplant Program a Success - NJ Outdoors 1974

Osprey Egg Transplant Program a Success - NJ Outdoors 1974 - 987.8KB
Here is an article from the September/October edition of New Jersey Outdoors magazine in 1974 written by Pete McLain and Teddy Schubert. The article highlights the early conservation work done to help restore the endangered population of ospreys in NJ.

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.

Contact Us:

Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager: Email

609.628.2103


Find Related Info: Osprey, Raptors

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Women & Wildlife Awards

Project RedBand!

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Ospreys are on the move south. Get out and look for some ospreys wearing red bands!

>> Report a red banded osprey!

 

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