Conserve Wildlife Blog

Calling all Osprey Watchers!

July 27th, 2016

Filling in the gaps

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Approaching a natural nest inside Barnegat Inlet. Photo by Northside Jim.

Approaching a natural nest inside Barnegat Inlet. Photo by Northside Jim.

Each year, while conducting osprey surveys by boat, our volunteer banders and biologists try to reach the majority of known osprey nests in the most densely populated colonies in New Jersey. The data that is collected (active nest, # of young) help to determine the overall health of the population. Since 2013, we have surveyed more than we have ever have, after releasing all of the known locations of osprey nests in New Jersey. All osprey nests can be viewed on our partners website,, which is run by the Center for Conservation Biology. It has helped us reach 80% of the known population. Publishing and mapping all the known nests was an attempt to engage citizen scientists (by them going out to observe ospreys) and save critical funding (for more endangered species of wildlife) while collecting data to monitor and manage our ospreys. So far it has proved to be an amazing tool for the future management of ospreys, who nest in very close proximity to humans.

It is often difficult for us to survey all osprey colonies each summer. For those areas that are left out we hope to fill in the gaps with reports of nesting activity that are submitted on Below are maps showing areas where we need reports of nesting activity. If you live or boat in these areas then please check the maps, go out and observe nests, and report your sightings online.

What to look for: During this time of year it might be difficult to determine if a nest was active or not, that is unless you’ve watched it all season. Many young are now old enough to fly, so they might be off or away from the nest at times. If they are on the nest then you can easily determine how many were produced. If you see more than two birds then you know they produced at least one nestling. If you don’t know how many young were produced, then please log an activity and mark that the nest was occupied.


Dover Fire Co.

This nest is located on a communication tower behind the E. Dover Fire Co.


These nests are located on the marsh island behind Lavalette, NJ.


Brick Twp. Nests.


Mantoloking nests.


Point Pleasant nests.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

5 Responses to “Calling all Osprey Watchers!”

  1. Jared Plotkin says:

    Is there any volunteer work to be done on a monday or thursday? Is there any volunteer work around the atlantic county region?

  2. Ben says:

    Hey Jared, The type of volunteer work in this post calls for Osprey Watchers (people who live, boat, or watch a nest) to report nesting activity online. The majority of those nests are in N. Ocean and Monmouth Counties. We have most nests in Atlantic County covered already.

    Later this year, in the fall we will be coordinating several osprey platform work “parties” to help maintain a large number of nesting platforms. It will be an “all hands on deck” type of volunteer event to help get as much (quality) work done in a short amount of time. You can email me if you want to be notified when they will be announced, but we will post info here on our blog and social media too, so stay tuned!

  3. Jared Plotkin says:

    I would like to know the exact dates of the events that I can take place with because of the type of work that I do. I will then be able to put in for the time off to do the volunteer work. I am interested in doing the volunteer work to help me build up my resume with experience. I appreciate all the opportunities granted, and thank you for your time in posting the events.

  4. John Reilly says:

    Good Morning! There are many Ospreys nest throughout Cape May County ! Near / next to the Cape May Bridge, at Cape May City School, near Swains Hardware, New Jersey Nature Conservancy Property, South Meadows Cape May.. Just to name a few.

  5. Leeron Tagger says:

    I own and operate a 21-foot airboat, I would be happy to help repair near sites during the fall.
    The boat is capable of riding over high marsh if necessary. It seats 6.