Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘trash’

Volunteers help clean up critical habitat along Absecon Bay

Friday, November 3rd, 2017
Preservation of declining habitat is key to survival of high marsh wildlife

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Litter, debris and trash dumped at NJDOT Mitigation site on Absecon Bay.

As the sea rises, high areas on the coastal salt marsh will decline or disappear. These areas are higher in elevation and usually consist of more sandy soil. The sandy soil attracts nesting female diamondback terrapins, like many roadsides throughout New Jersey. As we harden shorelines to hold back floodwaters, terrapins will face more dangerous treks to find suitable nesting habitat, unless these high marsh areas are enhanced and elevations raised. For the past five years we have been surveying Route 30 (Whitehorse Pike) during summer months for the occurance of terrapins on the highway. Adult female terrapins enter the roadway while seeking these sandy areas above the high tide line. Most, if not all, do not survive crossing Route 30. (more…)

Three little hatchlings!

Monday, June 2nd, 2014
Eggs hatch at Osprey Cam nest in Oceanville

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Three eggs have hatched at the Osprey Cam nest at Forsythe NWR in Oceanville.

Three eggs have hatched at the Osprey Cam nest at Forsythe NWR in Oceanville.

It’s been a hectic spring (to say the least). I’ve been swamped with field work since early April. Time has been flying by!!

The osprey pair nesting at the nest with our Osprey Cam on it has successfully hatched three young. The eggs hatched at ~37 days and in the order they were laid. Ospreys exhibit asyncronous hatching, which helps make sure that only the strongest young survive to fledge. In years with a good supply of fish then all young will survive. When there is harsh weather or a lack of prey (fish) then the oldest and strongest will survive, this is often called natural selection. The last two catches, from the male, have been very large white perch. There has been so much food that the young all get their fill. Sometimes the runt won’t get fed right away, but if he peeps a lot and begs for food, then he will get his share too.

Regarding the trash in the nest:

We are watching the plastic in the nest and will take action if necessary to remove it. Our policy is only to act when a bird is in a life threatening situation. Us entering a nest creates disturbance which might cause even more harm (more so when a bird is potentially entangled). Extreme care (and patience) must be taken in these types of situations. Trust us. We’d LOVE to not see the trash in the nest, BUT this is a teachable moment for all who are watching the Osprey Cam. Please share our post on social media and encourage your friends to pick up the next piece of litter they see or to not release balloons! If we all act, then we can all make a difference!



Marine Debris

Thursday, September 6th, 2012
Threatens NJ’s wildlife

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Trash collected from 112 osprey nests from as far north as Monmouth and south to Atlantic City, New Jersey. © Ben Wurst

Marine debris (specifically plastics) have become a  serious problem in coastal areas throughout the world, especially in the Pacific Ocean where gyres create large floating “garbage patches.” I work out on the back bays and salt marshes throughout the coastal region of New Jersey as I help to monitor and manage ospreys and their nesting platforms. Every time I’m out I encounter trash. Most of it accumulates along the wrack line on the higher portions of the marsh where storm surges, high winds, and during spring tides (during full and new moon phases) push it onto the marsh. This debris then makes its way into the nests of ospreys because this is where they collect most of their nesting material.