Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Canada’

Jersey City Falcon ruffles some Canadian feathers!

Friday, September 18th, 2015
79/AN or “Ivy” thriving in Toronto

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager


Look at that plumage! A beautiful two year old female peregrine falcon. Photo courtesy Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station.

Look at that plumage! A beautiful two year old female peregrine falcon. Photo courtesy Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station.

I’ll never forget banding this particular eyas. Here’s a flashback entry of Nestbox News after the banding:


“The banding day when as smooth as it could. I found I would be all alone with banding there the evening before (Kathy was too engulfed in budgeting to join me). So, for the first time I would be banding at JC (Jersey City) all alone. I have banded young falcons before, so I wasn’t worried. If you know me, I like a good challenge! Six guests joined me to watch at 101 Hudson St. and our Executive Director, David Wheeler would be joining us to help. However, things changed rapidly.. Shortly after arriving I got a call from David that he had vehicles issues while only 1 mile away! He was stuck and could not abandon his car, which was a rental…bummer! I was all on my own now. For safety reasons, I was the only person allowed on the roof to grab the eyas. Easy, right? I thought so… I had all my gear: helmet, umbrella, gloves, box. Check. I headed out onto the roof to grab the eyas. As soon as I opened the door the adult female came diving down from the upper parapet to drive me off. We use an umbrella to ward her off. Since Kathy had the usual umbrella, I brought my wife’s. When I had to grab the eyas I needed two hands, so with no helper (to hold the umbrella) I sat it down on the edge of the nestbox and on my helmet. I quickly load the eyas in the box. I hear the female swoop down towards my head. The umbrella is gone! She took my wife’s umbrella and flew off with it! I bring the eyas inside, examined her (determined its a female) and band her legs for future tracking. All in all, everything went well considering the circumstances. I never found the umbrella…” —Fast forward to this past March… I got the umbrella back!! Building engineers at 101 Hudson St. found my wife’s umbrella on a ledge of the building.


Ivy to other sites

Map of nest sites and the banding station.

After an uneventful season for all of us Falcon Cam viewers this year we need some positive news… Well, last week 79/AN or “Ivy” was re-captured at a banding station outside of Toronto, Canada. She has also caused quite a news storm up there! After she was captured Tracy Simpson, Raptor Centre and Education Coordinator with the Canadian Peregrine Foundation started to piece together the puzzle…


“We were talking about her last night and thinking, “Oh yeah, remember that sub (adult) that showed up at that one nest a few times…  …and don’t forget that other incident downtown. Could that have been Ivy?”  So she is suspect number one in several incursion incidents around the southern province all along the lakeshore area.” said Tracy. Apparently Ivy is working her way into the local peregrine falcon scene, which looks to be pretty active up there.


Sporting her bands. Photo courtesy Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station.

Sporting her bands. Photo courtesy Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station.

Ivy was caught in a mist net at a hawk watch/banding station, called the Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station. She was described as a “cracking female Peregrine falcon” who was already banded. They assumed she was a Toronto hatched falcon but after being caught they reported the bands to USGS and found out that she’s a Jersey City girl! Here’s a link to their post on Facebook with more photos.


Tracy informed me that they have some volunteers who are watching her interaction with the local resident pairs. She also said that Ivy “stands a real chance at finding a home here in Toronto.” We’re happy to know that 79/AN is alive and well in Canada. Hopefully we’ll get some more news on her in the future, all because she was banded!






Learn more:


Ben Wurst is the Habitat Program Manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.


Traveling the Flyway in Search of Piping Plovers

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

By: Todd Pover, Beach Nesting Bird Project Manager


Grey Flag EP, a marked Canadian piping plover  and one of the stars of the weekend.

Grey Flag EP, a marked Canadian piping plover and one of the stars of the weekend.


My trip to Canada this past weekend, completed a circle of sorts for me. Over the course of my two decade career studying and protecting Atlantic Coast piping plovers, I have traveled to nearly all of the breeding states in the U.S. More recently, I have expanded my work to their wintering grounds, visiting states in the southeast U.S. and extensively in the Bahamas. But there was one big gap in my piping plover conservation work beyond New Jersey – Atlantic Canada, which, by itself represents an entire recovery unit in the federal recovery plan.

“So you chase plovers around the world,” someone said to me in Canada this weekend. Well, not for the sake of just seeing them in different locations. What I am “chasing” is knowledge and partners. I am seeking information about to how we can improve our breeding program in New Jersey by observing what works (and doesn’t work) in other parts of the range and developing partners to help further conservation across the range.

The story of how I finally ended up in Canada illustrates just how connected piping plover conservation is on an international scale. This past winter, CWF’s Stephanie Egger and I resighted a number of marked piping plovers in the Bahamas. Among those were plovers with engraved flags indicating they bred in Atlantic Canada, marked as part of a long-term research project to try to determine survival, site fidelity, and wintering distribution, among other things. One of the plovers we observed was Grey E4, seen on a small quiet beach on Spanish Wells, Eleuthera. I dutifully reported the band the same evening we observed it and in a few hours the researchers responded it was banded as a chick the previous season in Liverpool, Nova Scotia. When I returned from field work the next day, I had an inquiry about the sighting from a small newspaper back in Nova Scotia, an unusual occurrence, especially so soon after reporting the band. A nice article resulted, a little excitement was generated, and that was the end of story for us on that banded bird.

At least it would normally be the end of the story. Over the course of the next few days and then weeks, I noticed that White Point Beach Resort, the breeding site where “E4” originated from, was frequently posting about the Bahamas resighting and in general about their plovers. After sleeping on it awhile, I finally decided to reach out to them; my curiosity was peeked about what was driving their enthusiasm. What I found out was that they genuinely love their plovers (of course, they do), but they are also interested in marrying conservation and commerce. Instead of it being an adversarial situation as often happens, a fear that having an endangered species would limit activities on their beach, the resort viewed the plovers as “value added” – something their guests would be interested in and maybe even come to the resort to experience.

The beach at White Point Beach Resort, a piping plover breeding site in Atlantic Canada, and host of International Piping Plover Day

The beach at White Point Beach Resort, a piping plover breeding site in Atlantic Canada, and host of International Piping Plover Day.

And they recognized the bands as a way to tell and sell the story. I couldn’t agree more, the bands provide a means to promote piping plover conservation on a personal level through storytelling. Piping plover banding projects are never undertaken lightly; trapping and marking birds involves some risk, and the prime motive for banding always has to be in the name of research to aid management and recovery. But once the birds are marked, we have an opportunity to use them for other purposes as well.


Post and sign designating a piping plover breeding sites in Canada.

Post and sign designating a piping plover breeding sites in Canada.

Having instantly bonded over our shared connection to E4, one thing led to another, and we decided to try to partner…in Canada, no less. It started small, but White Point Beach Resort reached out to the local piping plover community and research network, and eventually a whole weekend of activities was planned. May 3 was declared International Piping Plover Day and billed as a day for “banding together to celebrate partnerships.” Working in coordination with Bird Studies Canada, which oversees and implements the piping conservation and research projects in this region, an informative program, including updates on the Canadian banding project and breeding success in Nova Scotia, was presented as part of the weekend.


My role was to tell a little more of E4’s “story” and provide a big picture perspective that included the wintering and migratory portions of the piping plover’s life-cycle. Other highlights for attendees (and me) was a chance to view White Point’s resident pair of piping plovers, including Grey EP, who had just returned to the site to nest once again this year and is the “father” of E4. We even posted and fenced the nesting area of the resort’s beach.


Now that I have completed my travels across the piping plover’s entire Atlantic coast range, I have a flyway scale perspective of the conservation efforts and the challenges we all share. Ironically, the wider my view has become, the more I realize that in the end it comes back to the local view. Conservation works most effectively at the local level, the “stories” connect us on the local level, and we care most passionately about our local piping plovers. Another way of saying Think Globally, Act Locally.


It was an honor to be part of International Piping Plover Day in Nova Scotia this past weekend. I consider it something of a piping plover “diplomatic mission.” A special thanks to Donna Hatt and Wendy Coolen of White Point Beach Resort for organizing and hosting the event and to Sue Abbott of Bird Studies Canada for her coordination, as well as everything she does for piping plover conservation in Atlantic Canada.


Todd Pover is the Beach Nesting Bird Project Manager with Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.