Conserve Wildlife Blog

Archive for the ‘Volunteer Programs’ Category

Shorebird Stewards: A season in photos

Tuesday, June 4th, 2024

by: Larissa Smith, Senior Wildlife Biologist

Twenty-nine Shorebirds Stewards were posted at Delaware Bay beaches in Cumberland and Cape May Counties during the annual shorebird migration in May. Stewards help to protect the feeding shorebirds by keeping disturbance to a minimum. Shorebirds birds need to feed and fatten up on horseshoe crab eggs for their journey north to their breeding grounds. Stewards educate the public about this phenomenon and the reasons for the restricted beaches. The 2024 shorebird season went smoothly, the crabs spawned throughout May, so there were plenty of eggs on the beaches. This season the shorebirds were using many of the beaches with restricted access to the public. These beaches had stewards present and viewing areas, allowing people to witness the multitudes of shorebirds, especially the Red-knot, a federally listed species. Thank you to all the stewards for making this a successful shorebird season.

photos by Shorebird Stewards

2023 NJ Bald Eagle Project Report

Thursday, January 18th, 2024

by Larissa Smith, Senior Wildlife Biologist

The NJDEP Fish & Wildlife’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program and Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey have published the New Jersey Bald Eagle Project, 2023. The NJ eagle population continues to thrive. During the 2023 nesting season, 286 nest sites were monitored of these 255 pairs were active (laid eggs). This is a slight increase of 5 active nests from 2022. This season 309 young eagles were documented to have fledged, this number is a down from 2022’s high of 335 young fledged. The productivity rate of 1.28 young per active nest is above the 1.0 young per nest needed for population maintenance.

Fifty-four nest failed to fledge young this season, this means that the pair laid eggs, but the eggs failed to hatch or the chicks did not make it to fledging. There could be many reasons for nest failure including weather events, nest/tree collapse, disturbance by humans or intruder eagles. The NJ eagle population is doing well but they still need monitoring and protection. There is constant pressure for development in NJ and if we don’t know about a nest we can’t help to protect it. Eagles are nesting in all 21 NJ counties, from remote marshes in southern New Jersey to suburban neighborhoods. How the ENSP and CWF protects these nests is on a nest by nest basis. We couldn’t do this without the dedicated group of 150 NJ Eagle Project volunteers who not only monitor the eagle nests, but help minimize disturbance to nests by educating the public about NJ’s eagle population.

Forsythe NWR, eagles fight over prey, 12/16/23 photo by Rich Nicol

The 2024 NJ Bald Eagle season is underway with eight pairs currently incubating. A great way to see what goes on in an eagles nest is to watch the Duke Farms eagle cam. The female should be laying the first egg any day now.

We’d like to thank all the volunteers, sponsors, donors and friends of the NJ Eagle Project

Photo from the Field: Spout Off! Osprey Platform Repair

Tuesday, December 5th, 2023

by Ben Wurst / Senior Wildlife Biologist

We always go out of our way to help provide ospreys with safe, suitable nest sites. This has been our mission since we began working with them over 15 years ago and has helped the population surpass the historic population estimate of over 500 nesting pairs. Our loyal New Jersey Osprey Project volunteers follow this same principal — always on the lookout for damaged nest platforms — to take meaningful action.

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2023: NJ Eagle Project Volunteer Photos

Thursday, July 27th, 2023

by: Larissa Smith, Senior Biologist

photo by Dallas Hetherington

NJ Eagle Project Volunteers monitor nests during the nesting season. Since they spend a lot of time observing the nest and eagles behavior they get to see some pretty interesting things and many of them are able to document with photos. I asked volunteers to send me their three favorite photos from the eagle nesting season. Thank you to all the eagle project volunteers for their dedication

Enjoy the slideshow.

Eaglets Get a New Nest

Tuesday, June 20th, 2023

by: Larissa Smith, CWF Senior Biologist

Princeton eaglets in their new nest; photo by John Heilferty

The Princeton eagle nest collapsed sometime between Friday June 2nd and early Saturday June 3rd. The Princeton pair had two chicks that were ten weeks old and close to fledging. NJ Eagle Project volunteers, Kevin and Karin Buynie monitor this nest and went out as soon as they were notified. When they arrived one chick was perched up in the tree and one was on the ground. The grounded chick was taken to Mercer County Wildlife Center for evaluation. The next day Kevin returned to the nest site and found the second chick now on the ground, so that chick was also captured and taken to MCWC. Both chicks were found to be uninjured and ready to return to the nest. A plan was formed to build a new nest in the tree and renest the two chicks. On June 11th, a group of volunteers and staff from Mercer County Wildlife Center met at the nest site. John Heilferty, retired ENSP Chief, climbed the nest tree and built the nest as volunteers helped to send up the needed materials. Diane Nickerson with the MCWC brought the two chicks, which were banded with Green NJ band H/39 and H/38 and silver federal bands. The chicks were then placed back up in the nest. One of them decided to fledge and the other perched on a branch near the nest. The recently fledged chick did return to the nest that evening and the second chick fledged June 16th. Thank you to Karin and Kevin Buynie, Diane Nickerson and volunteers Daniel and Hope with Mercer County Wildlife, John Heilferty, Kim Korth, and Roger Smith.

Scroll through the slideshow to view photos from the renest.