Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘wildlife’

Birds and Powerlines

Tuesday, November 14th, 2023

Larissa Smith: CWF Senior Biologist,

Nesting pair of eagles near Atlantic City@ Bill Reinert

Last week I attended the APLIC (Avian Powerline Interaction Committee) workshop hosted by PSE&G. APLIC is a group that leads the electric utility industry in protecting avian resources while enhancing reliable energy delivery. We all use electricity and power lines are needed to distribute the power to where it’s needed. Powerlines and transmission towers have become a normal part of the landscape and we don’t pay much attention until our power goes out. All different species of birds, from bald eagles to starlings, interact with powerlines, poles and towers daily, including perching and nesting on them.

With these interactions come issues, birds can be injured or die from electrocution and collisions which can cause power outages. Nests on poles and transmission towers can create problems with outages and fires as well as risk to chicks or adults. One part of my job is keep track of all reported injured or dead bald eagles in New Jersey. In 2023 there have been fifteen confirmed eagle electrocutions. Any recoveries that are a suspected electrocution or collision with a powerline are reported to the appropriate utility company. CWF and the NJ ENSP have a good relationship with the Utility companies in New Jersey. Each utility company has biologists that work on environmental issues including avian. There are a whole set of issues that they need to be taken into consideration when deciding how best to minimize negative avian interactions. The solutions require time, money and often scheduled power outages. When an area of lines or poles are identified as a risk for bird electrocution/collision, they are made as avian safe as possible. When new distribution lines are rebuilt, avian issues are taken into consideration and the appropriate measures are implemented.

There are quite a few bald eagles and ospreys that nest on poles and transmission towers throughout New Jersey. Most of these nests don’t cause problems, but if they need to be removed, the utility company works to obtain the proper permits and replace the nest with a new nesting structure in close vicinity. One example is the Three Bridges eagle nest. PSE&G needed to replace the entire distribution line where an eagle pair had been nesting on one of the towers for years. After much planning and coordination the nest was removed and placed on a nest platform installed on one of the new towers.

I certainly learned a lot at the workshop and gained a new appreciation for everything that goes into keeping our electricity flowing at the flick of a switch and making sure that avian species stay safe at the same time.

To learn more:

Barn Owls in Monmouth County

Thursday, October 12th, 2023

by: Larissa Smith, CWF Senior Biologist

photo by Herb Houghton

Barn Owls (Tyto alba) are one of the most widespread avian species in the world. Despite this impressive distribution, their numbers have been decreasing in parts of their range, and New Jersey is no exception. The barn owl population in New Jersey is in decline due to habitat loss associated with urban sprawl and development of former agricultural lands. Little is known about the Barn Owl population in central New Jersey. Through a grant from the Monmouth Audubon Society, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey is partnering with Monmouth County Park System and the New Jersey State Park to construct, install and monitor three barn owl boxes. By providing suitable nest site opportunities we can potentially boost the barn owl population locally within Monmouth County as well as regionally as fledglings disperse to find their own nesting areas.

The first step of the project has been completed. CWF biologist Christine Healy and her Father Jim Healy have constructed three nest boxes that are ready for installation.


Would you like to learn more about the elusive Barn Owl, support the CWF Barn Owl Project and have a fun family night? Join us at Howls for Owls, at the Screamin’ Hill Brewing.

We Hope to see you there. This outdoor event will be cancelled for bad weather, so please stay updated on our website.

Gardening for Terrapins

Monday, October 9th, 2023

by Ben Wurst / Senior Wildlife Biologist

Work on this project is done under NJDEP Fish & Wildlife Scientific Collecting Permit SC2023048

When we founded the Great Bay Terrapin Project, our goal was to reduce roadkills of adult female northern diamondback terrapins. This was largely due to personal observations of multiple roadkills during the summer months along roads in Little Egg Harbor Township and past research which accounted for a large number of adults DOR (dead on road). Since 2010, we’ve been able to cut the historic roadkill rate in half, all thanks to our devoted volunteers who patrol area roads and raise awareness for them! This allows adults to grow larger and live longer lives, which helps to ensure their long term survival.

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Brood Reduction: New Jersey Osprey Cams Shine Light on Prey Availability

Tuesday, July 18th, 2023

by Ben Wurst, Senior Wildlife Biologist

Depending on where you look and who you talk to, the fate of many osprey nests might bring tears to your eyes. Since a nor’easter impacted the coast with strong onshore winds for several days, young ospreys have been dying of starvation in plain sight. Over the past week, several reports of adults who abandoned their nests with young have been received. This year, weather has impacted the availability of fish and outcomes of nests in the Garden State.

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Beach Nesting Birds- an Insider’s Look from CWF’s Seasonal Monitors

Friday, June 30th, 2023

By Todd Pover, Senior Wildlife Biologist

With about 50 pairs of both piping plovers and American oystercatchers nesting this year at Holgate, a unit of the Edwin B. Forsythe NWR, CWF’s seasonal staff that monitors breeding activity for the Refuge has been working at a non-stop pace. We asked them to take a short break from their field tasks to reflect on their season, for some this is their first experience with beach nesting birds. Specifically, they were asked about their favorite and most surprising things about the birds, so far. Read their responses below, including a little twist of the “least favorite” thing in one case.

CWF’s 2023 beach nesting bird monitoring crew for Edwin B. Forsythe NWR and Horseshoe Island.
Morgan Phillips, Gianna Canale, Audrey Randazzo, Amy Kopec, Dakota Bell (l to r).
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