Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Osprey Watch’

Orphaned Osprey Chicks Find New Homes

Tuesday, August 1st, 2023

by Sherry Tirgrath, Wildlife Biologist

Three young osprey chicks found themselves without their parents after a utility pole nest caught fire at the National Guard Training Center (NGTC) in Sea Girt, NJ. Osprey often choose utility poles as nesting structures because of the 360° view they offer. Fires caused by the nests, composed mostly of dried sticks and seagrass, aren’t uncommon. Because of the safety hazard imposed by the nest, it was removed from the utility pole at the NGTC with three healthy chicks inside. The chicks were approximately a week to ten days old when removed from the nest and were brought temporarily to The Raptor Trust in Millington by Charles Appleby, Chief of the Environmental Bureau of the NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (NJDMAVA) to be cared for while a new nesting platform could be built. Reuniting the chicks with their parents in a safe nest box would give them their best chance at survival.

Three young osprey chicks were removed from a hazardous nest.

Osprey Numbers Surge Above Post-DDT Milestone

Monday, January 22nd, 2018
Statewide Census Documents over 650 nesting pairs in New Jersey

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

An osprey prepares to land on a natural nest. Barnegat Bay, NJ.

Since we began to work more closely with ospreys in 2006, we have documented the population grow beyond the historic population estimate of 350-450 nesting pairs (Henny 1977) to a new historic milestone. In 2017, a total of 668 active nests were recorded during a statewide census of nesting ospreys, which is well above the post-DDT milestone of 500 nesting pairs, and show that the population continues to grow. This is the second census conducted without the use of manned aircraft since 2009 after all known osprey nests were released and mapped online in 2013. Despite the lack of aircraft, we’re still able to obtain an accurate representation of the size and health of the statewide population, while reducing the overall project cost. (more…)

Calling all Osprey Lovers!

Thursday, July 6th, 2017
Citizen Scientists Needed to help collect data on nesting ospreys

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Two young ospreys and an adult on a nest in Ocean County.

This year we are hoping to get a better estimate of the size and health of the osprey population in New Jersey. Up from only 50 pairs in the early 1970s to an estimated 600+ pairs today. Ospreys are an indicator species and as top tier predators, they show the effects of contaminants in the environment before many other long lived species. They are our new age “canary in the coal mine” so keeping tabs on the health of their population is key to assessing the health of our estuarine and marine ecosystems. (more…)

Calling all Osprey Watchers!

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016
Filling in the gaps

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Approaching a natural nest inside Barnegat Inlet. Photo by Northside Jim.

Approaching a natural nest inside Barnegat Inlet. Photo by Northside Jim.

Each year, while conducting osprey surveys by boat, our volunteer banders and biologists try to reach the majority of known osprey nests in the most densely populated colonies in New Jersey. The data that is collected (active nest, # of young) help to determine the overall health of the population. Since 2013, we have surveyed more than we have ever have, after releasing all of the known locations of osprey nests in New Jersey. All osprey nests can be viewed on our partners website,, which is run by the Center for Conservation Biology. It has helped us reach 80% of the known population. Publishing and mapping all the known nests was an attempt to engage citizen scientists (by them going out to observe ospreys) and save critical funding (for more endangered species of wildlife) while collecting data to monitor and manage our ospreys. So far it has proved to be an amazing tool for the future management of ospreys, who nest in very close proximity to humans. (more…)