Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘platform’

Osprey platforms faired well after Sandy

Monday, November 26th, 2012
Post-storm surveys and reports from public equal a sigh of relief!

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

No doubt the effects of superstorm Sandy will be felt for a long time, especially to residents of coastal areas who experienced flooding with the associated storm surge. During the past two hurricanes, Irene last August and now Sandy, I was really worried that a lot of osprey nesting platforms would get damaged or lost during the storms. Luckily my worries didn’t become reality! So far most nesting platforms are still standing strong despite a 15′ storm surge with sustained winds of at least 70-80mph. I’ve heard of a few structures that have fallen down. Most were probably ones that were older structures that were constructed poorly or installed too close to the edge on the saltmarsh. Over the next couple weeks we’re planning on getting out to other colonies to survey for damage caused by Sandy.

An osprey platform after superstorm Sandy hit the coast of New Jersey.

Photo from the Field

Monday, September 24th, 2012
Enhancing nesting habitat for ospreys

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Last week we successfully installed an osprey nesting platform on the Manasquan Reservoir. The reservoir supplies water to residents of Monmouth County and can supply up to 30 million gallons of water a day. It’s also home to a variety of wildlife, such as bald eagles, osprey, waterfowl, freshwater mussels, and many other species. Since it’s creation in the early 1990s the many snags offered potential nest sites for ospreys; however, today many of the snags are falling down. The last nest site for ospreys broke in the winter of 2010-11. It was near the environmental center at the reservoir and offered visitors a close view of their nest and reproductive cycle. Since the nest tree broke no pairs have nested on the reservoir. (more…)

Photo from the Field

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

By now most ospreys are back from their wintering grounds in Central and northern South America. Generally the older more experienced birds return first and the younger inexperienced adults follow. Over the past month I’ve been very busy with platform repairs and installations throughout coastal New Jersey. You may not be aware but I maintain a huge number of nesting platforms. In just the past couple weeks I’ve worked as far south as Avalon (where I lead a group of students and their parents from Collingswood to replace an existing platform) and as far north as Bayonne (where I installed 3 platforms with local middle and high school students). Both were memorable experiences for both myself and many of the students. Most of them had never been on a boat or ever had the chance to walk on the saltmarsh.

Maintenance of existing platforms is critical to the continued recovery of ospreys. Over time (and in some cases, not much time) the condition of these nesting platforms is degraded, mainly by the environmental conditions where they’re placed. For the most part the fasteners are what go first from contact with high levels of moisture in the air, after that,  the wood decays (unless a pressure treated or cedar wood is used). One way to help prevent the decay of platforms is to use marine grade stainless steel screws, galvanized bolts, and treated lumber. If we were to lose a large portion of the available nesting platforms in a given year then the population would suffer, so it’s important to make sure existing platforms remain in good condition.

Last week I got out to the “Wildlife Drive” at Forsythe NWR in Oceanville to repair a platform. The platform top had lost a side and could no longer hold nesting material. I built a new top out of salvaged wood that I collect and installed it on Thursday afternoon. The next day a male osprey began to place nesting material in the freshly repaired platform. Talk about perfect timing!

If you’re interested in helping us to maintain osprey nesting platforms, contact me about our new program to “Adopt a Platform.”

An osprey places nesting material in the newly repaired platform at Forsythe NWR. © Howie Williams