Conserve Wildlife Blog

Osprey 04/D Back in Jersey!

April 26th, 2018

Barnegat Bay Osprey Returns to New Jersey After Two Year Vacation

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

04/D was photographed in Allendale at the Celery Farm by Barbara Dilger on Monday, April 23.

North American ospreys migrate long distances to and from their breeding and wintering grounds in the southern U.S., Central America, Caribbean Islands, and N. South America. For the past four years we have been banding young ospreys who originate from nests on Barnegat Bay with an auxiliary band to help determine their movements after fledging. Project RedBand was designed to help track the migration, dispersal, life span, and foraging habits of ospreys from Barnegat Bay, a unique estuary along the Atlantic Coast of New Jersey. The project was also designed to help engage the public in osprey management and conservation. Since the red bands are highly visible and readable with optics, it allows the public the ability to identify the individual and then learn about their past. Lastly, we now rely heavily on citizen scientists who report nesting activity on Osprey Watch

After banding over 250 of these elite Project RedBand ospreys, I can say that I always get excited when I get a report of a red banded osprey! On Tuesday I got an email from Barbara Dilger with photos showing the bird and its band and the note, “It was hunting for fish over Lake Alpert at the Celery Farm Natural Area.” Awesome!

Then I looked up the band, 04/D and saw that I banded it, along with two of its nest mates, at a nest right off Long Beach Island on July 1, 2016. I typically have photos of every osprey that I’ve banded with a red band but for 04/D I couldn’t find one. So I sent Northside Jim, LBI Blogger/Photographer, a huge supporter of Project RedBand who was out with me when I banded 04/D, an email with the news and he sent me (and Barbara) back this note: “I went to dig up photos when I realized something special… the banding date was actually July 01, and we used a live cam on 04D’s banding! We actually have video of it: At 8 mins and 10 seconds you can see the band going on! Great bird to sight. So cool!” Now that explained why I didn’t have photos! We broadcast the live banding on Facebook using my iPhone! Then Jim sent over a couple of his photos of me banding 04/D and her nest mates!

04/D is on the right. photo by Northside Jim.

We hope to see some more red banded ospreys (always on their right leg!) return to New Jersey this year. You can read a little more into this re-sighting and some banding related information on Jim Wright’s Celery Farm blog.

Thank you to Barbara for photographing 04/D and reporting her to us and Jim for the great photos and link to the live banding on FB!

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