Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘bird’

Osprey 98/K: The Backstory

Tuesday, January 10th, 2023

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Osprey 98/K with prey over Barnegat Lighthouse State Park. May 2022. Photo by Bob Peal.

I have been finalizing osprey band re-sightings and encounters from last year and one particular band number stood out. It was 98/K, who was re-sighted by Bob Peal during his visit to Barnegat Lighthouse State Park on May 17, 2022. There he photographed a variety of wildlife, including several ospreys who had red auxiliary bands, one of which was readable!

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The Story of Osprey 52/K

Thursday, December 15th, 2022

by Ben Wurst / Habitat Program Manager

Osprey 52/K. September 5, 2022. Photo by Chris Kelly.

In 2014, we began to band osprey nestlings produced at nests within the Barnegat Bay watershed with auxiliary bands. This was an effort which came about from the interest of Jim Verhagen, a LBI resident and wildlife biographer. He wondered why young ospreys were not banded with color, field readable bands, like some endangered raptors, including bald eagles and peregrine falcons. This spawned Project RedBand, an osprey banding and re-sighting project. The goal of the project was to learn more about ospreys when they are alive while engaging coastal residents in their management. Just under 500 young ospreys were banded with red auxiliary bands from 2014-2020 from nests all along the Barnegat Bay estuary.

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A Visit to Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research

Thursday, November 17th, 2022

by Meaghan Lyon, Wildlife Biologist

When CWF biologists encounter an injured bird while doing field work, we usually turn to Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research for help.  A recent visit to the Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research facility located in Newark, Delaware provided great insight into the efforts that go into ensuring that injured and oiled birds have a second chance in the wild.  Their mission is to provide professional, compassionate rehabilitation to native injured and orphaned wild birds and contaminated wildlife, and to promote their stewardship through education and humane research.

The facility has two programs, the Wild Bird Clinic and Oiled Wildlife Response.  With more than 40 years of experience, the Wild Bird Clinic provides expert medical care, housing, and diets to injured, orphaned, and oiled native wild birds.

Inside the Oil Response Center you see large buckets to wash birds and other wildlife. Hoses hang from the ceiling to provide easy access and to avoid hazards.
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Stormy Spring Impacts Osprey Productivity

Tuesday, November 15th, 2022

by Ben Wurst / Habitat Program Manager

An osprey nest with hatchlings on May 16, 2022. One of many nests that eventually failed to produce young this year.

Whenever we look at how ospreys are faring, weather is always taken into account. When we summarize and report on the results of our summer osprey nesting surveys, we also look at the local climate. Being situated along the Atlantic coast, our weather is influenced by the ocean. As aerial predators of fish, ospreys are reliant on favorable water conditions to forage.

Preliminary results of the 2022 New Jersey Osprey Project Census show that the osprey population was not as productive this year as they have been over the past ~20 years. This was largely due to a low pressure system (nor’easter) that stalled off the coast in early May — when the majority of pairs were incubating eggs. The strong onshore winds caused moderate coastal flooding, windy conditions, increased wave action and water turbidity, which made it more difficult for ospreys to find and catch prey in coastal waters. Males do 100% of the foraging from the onset of egg laying until young begin to fledge, so when they are unable to provide food, females must abandon their nests and eggs to forage for themselves. The nor’easter in May appears to have affected the outcome of many coastal nests and in some cases, complete colonies. Of course there are many other causes for nest failure but this year weather played a major role.

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Photo from the Field: Failed

Monday, June 27th, 2022

by Ben Wurst / Habitat Program Manager

An empty osprey nest on a sandbar located on Barnegat Bay.

In the coming weeks CWF staff, NJDEP Biologists, and a handful of dedicated volunteers will descend onto the coastal saltmarshes of New Jersey to conduct a census of nesting ospreys. The last census was conducted in 2017 when 668 nesting pairs was recorded. They will survey remote areas of back bays by boat. Nests are surveyed in a variety of methods, with ladders being the traditional method, which allow for closer inspection of nests and banding of young for future tracking. Other nests are surveyed from a distance using optics or cameras with telephoto lenses, a mirror, smartphone or GoPro on an extension pole and a sUAS (when operated by a FAA licensed unmanned pilot). The goal is to recorded the total number of nesting pairs throughout the State.

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