Conserve Wildlife Blog

Photos from the Field: Raising up hope in 2021

January 7th, 2021

Eagle Scout candidate Kyle Agudo and Boy Scout Troop 61 give ospreys a boost in the new year

Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Troop 61 lift an osprey nest platform into place on the coastal saltmarsh. photo by Kathy Agudo.

Humans have played a key role in the recovery and stability of nesting ospreys throughout New Jersey and beyond. Today around 75% of the population, close to 500 pairs, rely on nest platforms designed specifically for them. They provide a stable nest platform, adequate perches, and protection from potential ground predators, aka raccoons. Many platforms are located in very close proximity to people, which make for excellent viewing and educational opportunities. Ospreys are a symbol of a healthy coast and resiliency in a dynamic region.

Over time wood decays and these nest platforms need to be replaced, as pictured above. Those that are built to our specs, using treated lumber and stainless screws and galvanized bolts, can last for more than a decade. Though, some periodic maintenance is required to ensure their long term stability. In recent years we have been more proactive in preventing premature failure of nest platforms by removing the heavy, moisture laden nesting material as it builds up, which puts more stress on the wood nestboxes.

Last summer we were notified of a platform, which hosted a nesting pair, on Motts Creek that had fallen down. We found this nest in late 2019 and it was still standing but in very poor condition. It was likely installed by a local resident many years ago and never reported to In comes Kyle Agudo and Boy Scout Troop 61 from Manahawkin. Kyle is an Eagle Scout candidate and for his Eagle Scout Project, he chose to help our nesting ospreys.

As part of his project, Kyle built one complete platform and ten nestboxes for us to use throughout New Jersey to repair aging nest platforms. The platform that was down on Motts Creek is one that we chose to replace with the platform that Kyle and his Troop built. We set out to install the platform last Saturday, when mild temperatures made fieldwork much more bearable during this time of year. We met at a nearby saltmarsh landing on Motts Creek Road and shuttled the platform and work crew to the marsh. Kyle and his fellow Scouts worked together to disassemble and remove the old platform. Then they dug a hole for the new platform, which was installed in less than 15 minutes.

We’ve sponsored many Eagle Scouts over the years and are very gracious for their support! We hope to have Kyle join us to repair some other nest platforms with his nestboxes later this winter. Thanks to Kyle and other Eagle Scouts, ospreys have their best chance of raising young.

Thank you to Kathy Agudo for the photos in the gallery below!

If you know of a Boy Scout who is looking for an Eagle Scout Project and would like to help our ospreys, we are always looking to engage them in our work. Please shoot me an email if interested.

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2 Responses to “Photos from the Field: Raising up hope in 2021”

  1. Clare Luisi says:

    Great job guys! Thank you for helping theses beautiful birds!

  2. Ben, these accomplishments and your powerful partnership with next-gen conservationists are worth their weight in gold! Key memory of Pinelands Short Course (pre-COVID) was hearing you on ospreys. Allow me to praise your spectacular photographs. Media relations is my world at D&R Greenway Land Trust, and I know well “Control the image and you control the placement” in print media. I am sure yours are winning converts all over the place. Thanks for miraculous work! cfe