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Ospreys are an indicator species. The health of their population has implications for the health our coastal ecosystems.
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A citizen-science based project on Barnegat Bay to engage locals and visitors to the Jersey Shore in osprey management and conservation.
Ospreys have made a remarkable recovery in New Jersey. Over the past 40 years we have seen the population grow from only 53 pairs in 1973 to 542 in 2013! Over that same time funding needed for their management has declined. Today their population is not in jeopardy of being extirpated as it was in the early 1970s. As funding is being directed towards species that are in decline, we move to utilize our citizen scientists and volunteers to help monitor and manage the population.
To help engage citizen scientists and for the first time in over 20 years, young ospreys have been marked with an auxiliary band in New Jersey. The new band, which is a red anodized aluminum rivet band bears an alpha-numeric code allows birders, osprey watchers and wildlife photographers the ability to identify these individual birds by their bands. This new project is being focused on ospreys that nest in the Barnegat Bay watershed from Point Pleasant south to Little Egg Harbor. The main goals of the project are to engage the public in osprey management and conservation along the Jersey Shore. At the same time, while collecting data from re-sightings, we will learn about their dispersal, foraging habits, site fidelity, migration routes, and their life span.
All auxiliary banded osprey in NJ wear the red band on their right leg.
In addition to banding young, we will be developing educational and interpretive materials to spread word about Project RedBand, ospreys and their importance in the coastal ecosystem.
This summer, during osprey nesting surveys, a total of 63 red bands were deployed on young ospreys. The young were banded at their nest sites (see map below) before they could fly, in late June and early July. Once airborne, the young can be re-sighted as they learn to hunt, soar, and eventually migrate south for the winter. Once they reach their wintering grounds in the Caribbean, Central America, and with largest concentrations in N. South America they will remain there for the next two years (will return to New Jersey at the earliest in 2016).
Band Information for re-sightings:
Sequence: Red with codes 00-100 over capital “C”. All aux. birds banded in NJ this summer wear a silver USGS band on their left leg and a red band on their right leg.[NOTE: Red bands were deployed in PA years ago and might be with the sequence 00-100/A.]
Bands deployed in 2014: 00/C to 62/C were deployed in 2014. Two of those bands were already recovered: 30/C and 31/C (who were blown from their nests at Sedge Islands WMA in late July).
Bands deployed in 2015: 63/C to 97/C (93/C was destroyed).
Additional re-sighting information desired:
- Location (GPS coordinates if possible)
- Closest town
- Aux. Red band code
- Bird behavior (resting, perched, feeding (if eating, prey species ID), hunting-foraging, hovering, soaring, flight-high, flight-low, other-please note)
Re-sighting confirmation: Photos of red banded ospreys are in some cases critical to confirm your sighting. If possible, please try to get a high resolution photo of the band.
Please fill out the form below or email Ben Wurst with your information about the sighting.
Nest sites where red bands were deployed:
Special thanks to Northside Jim and all the readers from "Readings From The Northside" for helping to make this project possible. Their enthusiastic support for conserving New Jersey's ospreys is unparalleled! Thank you!! :)
NEWS and Red Band sightings!
July 15, 2015
Osprey nesting surveys are wrapping up on all areas, including Barnegat Bay. So far this summer we have deployed 30 red bands. We have 8 more bands to deploy and we are hoping to get out to a few more nests to deploy the rest of them.
June 23, 2015
04/C is a photo friendly bird! I just came across this photo of him, taken by a local photographer Eric Hance back in August 2014.
December 9, 2014:
04/C who originated at a nest on Long Beach Island was re-sighted on the Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago on Dec. 5th. Nicholas H., who spotted the young male osprey was able to capture a photo of 04/C when he took off. From the photo he was able to read the band and submit an observation of the osprey. This is really a remarkable find and an awesome report for us to get.
We deployed a total of 61 red bands (00/C to 62/C) this summer, so having one re-sighted on their wintering grounds is like finding a needle in a haystack! I'm also really glad that Nick was even able to find our website here to be able to report the red band to us. The stars aligned for this awesome sighting to come in! --Ben
- September 3, 2014 - Cover photo and inside page spread
- Aug 8, 2014 - Readings from the Northside - Red bands on the move!
- Aug 9, 2014 - Readings from the Northside - Osprey 61/C
- July 24, 2014 - Readings from the Northside - Project RedBand is a go!
- July 16. 2014 - Readings from the Northside - Osprey thunderhead
- July 9, 2014 - Readings from the Northside - Osprey Maniacs
- July 12, 2013 - Readings from the Northside - We got our bands
- Learn about the New Jersey Osprey Monitoring Project
- View all nests in New Jersey
- Watch as we band young during a nesting survey at Edwin B. Forsythe NWR
- Follow ospreys on migration!!
Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager: Email
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