Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘NJ Osprey Project’

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

Saturday, April 4th, 2020

Terrapin hatchlings and 3000 tons of sand.

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

If lucky, I might cross paths with this terrapin in another decade (if it’s a female) and she overcomes the odds and returns to nest here as an adult.

While out inspecting our newly created terrapin habitat enhancement site in Little Egg Harbor, I found several terrapin hatchlings who were traversing the 36″ high pile of sand. I was expecting to see some hatchlings, since many arise from the protection of nest cavities on warm spring days in April, but not on top of our enhancement site. The moment I spotted one of these half dollar sized turtles, I looked into the distance and saw another.

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Photos from the Field: Ospreys Nest on Abandoned Crab Pot

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

Life is precious.

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

On the last osprey survey of the season we stumbled upon a new nest — one that was built on an abandoned crab pot. We were drifting on Absecon Bay when summarizing data when we heard an adult making defensive calls at a nest. We looked and saw a low nest on the ground.
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New Jersey’s Ospreys: A Symbol of a Healthy Coast ~ Part III

Friday, February 15th, 2019

Support New Jersey’s ospreys with donations matching a $12,500 challenge to help Conserve Wildlife Foundation purchase a boat.

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Surveying a nest on Long Beach Island in 2017, the last year we were able to utilize a state owned boat. photo by Northside Jim.

Ospreys are living barometers. They symbolize the resilience of life along the New Jersey coast. As a top tier predator who feeds exclusively on fish, their collective health is a direct link to the health of our coastal waters. Anyone can tell you that a healthy coast is essential to life at the shore. Clean water with abundant and healthy wildlife equals a booming shore economy. We have all benefited from actions and policy that have protected our air, land and water since the 1970s. Ospreys are no exception.

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New Jersey’s Ospreys: A Symbol of a Healthy Coast ~ Part II

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019