Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘2015’

Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey “2015 Annual Report” Released

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

CWF Releases its Second Annual Report Using a Story Map Format:

2015 Annual Report

Technology has proven to be vital to Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s work protecting rare wildlife species over the years. Our biologists depend greatly on modern technologies to band, track, and share online the journeys of wildlife. Our webcams broadcast the most intimate behaviors of nesting birds and bats across the web. And we seek out ever-evolving communications technologies to spread the word about the inspiring stories of wildlife, from social media and infographs to e-books and Story Maps. These technologies offer newfound abilities to share complex data on multiple levels, while still incorporating the awe-inspiring photography and videos that bring wildlife’s stories to life.

Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey is excited to offer our 2015 Annual Report in a unique format that utilizes one of those technologies – Story Maps. In the past year, we have explored the lives of seals, eagles, and freshwater mussels with Story Maps – and the annual report allows all of our projects to be highlighted in this interactive format as well.

Visit the multiple pages within this Story Map to learn about Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s many projects and partnerships in 2015, and the imperiled wildlife species in need of our help. Find examples of the innovative and dedicated leadership of our biologists and volunteers. And take an online journey across the state to learn how our projects made a difference in all corners of New Jersey in 2015 – a great year for wildlife in the Garden State!


Rare White Pelicans Seen in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Thursday, December 31st, 2015
Sandy Hook Christmas Bird Counters Delighted by White Pelicans

by Lindsay McNamara, Communications Manager

"American White Pelican" by Manjith Kainickara - originally posted to Flickr as American White Pelican. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons -

“American White Pelican” by Manjith Kainickara – originally posted to Flickr as American White Pelican.

My alarm was set for 4:00 AM on December 20, a Sunday morning. I woke up excited and eager to start the day. My phone started going off with text messages from friends about our meeting location. As any birder will tell you, this scenario is far from uncommon we love our birds! and will likely wake up at any time on any day for a chance to add another species to our life list.


I woke up early to look for owls to tally in the Sandy Hook Christmas Bird Count (Highlands and Atlantic Highlands territories are included in the Sandy Hook count). Our team drove through Hartshorne Woods Park in Highlands, New Jersey, in search of the nocturnal raptors. I thought the highlight of my day would be hearing two great horned owls calling to each other as first light came over the woods. While this was exciting (and definitely worth getting up at 4:00 AM for), I was in for another treat.


By 7:00 AM, our team grew into a group of six “bird nerds.” We were surveying the Navesink River, counting waterfowl, herons, songbirds and gulls, when Monmouth County Audubon Society‘s Rob Fanning yelled “three white pelicans”and sure enough, the pelicans were flying around the Oceanic Bridge in Rumson! I missed them the first time, but luckily the birds came back around and we were all able to watch them fly and swim through the scope. We shouted, laughed, smiled and high fived each other. One of my favorite aspects about birding is how quickly wildlife brings people together. Suddenly, we were the dream team.


Three White Pelicans. Photo by Lisa Fanning

Three White Pelicans. Photo by Lisa Fanning

According to Cornell Lab of Ornithology, American white pelicans are one of the largest North American birds considerably larger than a bald eagle, but smaller than a California condor. They feed from the water’s surface, dipping their beaks into the water to catch fish, such as minnows, carp and suckers. White pelicans often upend, like a large dabbling duck, in this process. They do not plunge-dive the way Brown Pelicans do.


They are superb soarers (they are among the heaviest flying birds in the world) and often travel long distances in large flocks by soaring. Adult American White Pelicans are snowy white with black flight feathers visible only when the wings are spread.


Northern breeding populations migrate to southern California, the Gulf States, Mexico, and Central America. White pelican populations breeding in Texas and Mexico are resident populations.


White Pelicans in Flight. Photo by Lisa Fanning.

White Pelicans in Flight. Photo by Lisa Fanning

The pelicans, first spotted by Rob, were the first Sandy Hook Christmas Bird Count (CBC) record in the 39-year count history! We saw the “three amigos” again later in the day at Many Mind Creek in Atlantic Highlands flying towards Staten Island.


Incidentally, three white pelicans were reported on December 27 in Connecticut. Our team wonders if those are our buddies. Monmouth County Audubon Society’s Lisa Fanning also stated that there have been up to five in Maryland, but she believes a small population may winter there. There are a number of winter records in eBird, mostly of a handful of birds (one report of up to 21 on January 1, 2012) at Blackwater NWR in Maryland.


During the 39th Sandy Hook CBC, 101 species were tallied. Each year, from December 14 through January 5, tens of thousands of volunteers throughout the Americas collect data used by scientists to study the long-term health and status of bird populations across North America. CBC informs strategies to protect birds and their habitat, and helps identify environmental issues with implications for people too. Find a count near you on Audubon’s website.


Lindsay McNamara is the Communications Manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

New Jersey Tiger Season

Thursday, December 17th, 2015
Biologists and volunteers survey for New Jersey Eastern Tiger Salamanders

by Larissa Smith, biologist/volunteer manager


It’s the time of year when Conserve Wildlife Foundation biologists and volunteers along with Endangered and Nongame Species biologists start to survey for New Jersey’s “tigers,” and by tigers I don’t mean the big striped cats, we’re talking about the Eastern Tiger Salamanders. These large mole salamanders spend most of their life burrowed under the ground and in December begin to emerge to migrate to vernal pools and breed. Eastern Tiger Salamanders are endangered in New Jersey and only found in 15 pools in the most southern part of the state.


Last week dedicated volunteers Wayne Russell, John King and myself went out to check on a few known breeding pools.  The water level in the ponds was lower than usual due to the lack of rain, but John found an adult male in one of the pools.

Tiger Salamander found 12__9_15@ W. Russell

Tiger Salamander found 12/9/15 Photo by W. Russell

We were delighted to find a male in the pool so early in December. At another known breeding pool we found the partial remains of two Eastern Tiger Salamanders that had obviously been eaten by a predator. But the good news was that we also found two tiger salamander egg masses in the same pool.


Predation is just one of the challenges that these salamanders face. Tiger Salamanders themselves are targeted by collectors for the pet trade which is why their breeding locations are kept a secret. Their habitat is declining due to habitat loss and fragmentation, development, pollution, changes in hydrology, and climate change.


Learn More:


Larissa Smith is a wildlife biologist and volunteer manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.


Providing Young Forest Habitat for the Golden-winged Warbler

Friday, December 11th, 2015
CWF and partners have created or restored over 225 acres of Golden-winged warbler habitat in New Jersey since 2012

 by Kelly Triece, Private Lands Biologist

Golden Winged Warbler. Photo by D. Kenny.

Golden Winged Warbler. Photo by D. Kenny.

Take a look at this Golden-winged warbler — a Neotropical Migrant songbird that breeds in New Jersey. This songbird is a species of special conservation concern in the United States and endangered in New Jersey, experiencing population declines due to loss of young forest habitat.

Did you know? In the past 30 years, over 11,000 acres of upland shrub and emergent wetland habitat have been lost to succession in New Jersey. This habitat is important for Golden-winged warblers because it is their primary breeding habitat. Fortunately, their secondary habitat, upland forests, have remained stable in the state.


Therefore, it has been the goal of many wildlife management agencies to continue to create young forest habitat, while protecting upland forests as well.

Conserve Wildlife Foundation and our partners (Natural Resources Conservation Service, New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife and New Jersey Audubon Society), have worked with private landowners to create or restore over 225 acres of Golden-winged warbler habitat since 2012 in New Jersey.


Our managed forests have a statistically significant higher diversity of birds than unmanaged sites!

Young forest habitat managed for Golden-winged Warbler. Photo by Kelly Triece.

Young forest habitat managed for Golden-winged warbler. Photo by Kelly Triece.

Young forest habitat, also known as scrub-shrub habitat, is new or regenerating forest that is less than 20 years old. Young forest habitat is important for many birds, especially the Golden-winged warbler. The open canopy of a young forest also helps provide food such as berries and insects to newly fledged birds, wild turkey, ruffed grouse, reptiles, black bears, bobcats, and butterflies.


Golden-winged warbler home range

Golden-winged warbler home range

The breeding range of the Golden-winged warbler extends along the Appalachians from the northern portion of Georgia in the south to Vermont in the north. The winter range for this species is southern Mexico and Central and South America.


Follow us in February 2016 when biologist Kelly Triece travels to Honduras to see the Golden-winged Warbler in its winter habitat!


Learn more and get involved:



Kelly Triece is the Private Lands Biologist for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

New Jersey Little Brown Bat Resighted!

Monday, December 7th, 2015

by Stephanie Feigin, Wildlife Ecologist

Little brown bats (c) Stephanie Feigin

Little brown bats (c) Stephanie Feigin

“Luci,” a little brown bat banded in July 2014 at 2008 Women & Wildlife Award Winner Barbara Brummer’s pond house (a New Jersey maternity site) was recently resighted!


Biologists doing a hibernaculum survey in New York State found Luci in a mine in one of New York’s largest little brown bat hibernaucula about 70 miles north from her summer roost site in New Jersey!


“She is spending the winter with 37,000 of her closest friends.” – Carl Herzog Wildlife Biologist, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Wildlife Diversity Unit