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In 2019, we documented persistent plastic marine debris in 42% of occupied osprey nests, but suspect that many more contain plastics, which can cause birds to become entangled and cause serious injury or death.

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Barnegat Light Osprey Cam

Our osprey cam was first installed at Forsythe NWR in 2013. In the spring of 2019, we installed a new camera at a nest in Barnegat Light.

Welcome to the home of the Barnegat Light Osprey Cam! We decided to pursue the installation of a camera system at this tall nest so that we can share the intimate life of ospreys with everyone from the Long Beach Island region and worldwide. This is the third year for this pair of ospreys at this nest site (second year of cam). In 2018, they produced two young and three in 2019. In 2020, the pair produced three young. All young have been banded for future tracking. So far the pair has been the same. We know by their distinct plumage, iris, and the male's band. Female is unbanded and male will be 17 years old (band 788-49033) if he returns. He originated from a nest that is less than 2 miles to the north from where he now nests.

As many know, ospreys are an important bioindicator species and reflect the health of their surrounding environment. A healthy coastal ecosystem equals a booming shore economy and the ospreys indicate that we're doing a good job of protecting our coastal areas. There are still many threats to ospreys, even though they have recovered from the effects of DDT and habitat loss. You can make a difference and help ospreys by reducing your dependence on single use plastics, eating sustainable/local caught seafood and by not releasing balloons. You can also help ospreys by participating in coastal cleanups or by picking up plastic litter that you see.

Our goal is to increase awareness and protection of ospreys in New Jersey and learn more about their prey.

Nest Cam News:

September 25

The osprey family from here Barnegat Light has completed their life cycle and started their non-breeding season. This begins with fall migration. Adult females typically leave first. Here we saw Daisy last oobserved on August 27. North American ospreys (all who are migratory) follow landmasses south. Here along the Atlantic flyway, they fly through Florida and then south over open water to Cuba or the Yucatan Peninsula. There they hopscotch over islands or land to N. South America, where the majority of N. American ospreys overwinter.

Following females are hatch year juveniles and adult males. Here Dorsett was last observed on September 11. We know from re-sightings or encounters of banded birds, that young birds don't always fly south right away. Many disperse as they hone their foraging skills. We have had banded hatch year ospreys from NJ who were encountered in NY, PA and other parts of NJ before fall migration peaks (for ospreys), which is during the first week of October in Cape May.

Duke, our 17 yr old male, was last seen on Sept 19, which was before Tropical Storm Ophelia hit the area on Sept 23. It is likely that this storm disrupted a lot of migrating birds and we can only hope that many were pushed offshore. Since the storm hit, we have not seen Duke but viewing conditions have not been optimal. We hope to see Duke next year!

Thank you to all who have watched, donated and supported the Barnegat Light Osprey Cam this year! Special thanks our devoted volunteer camera operator and moderators on YouTube! Your contributions help ensure the success of this camera and osprey outreach initiatives in New Jersey!! BW

PS - I would post a couple snapshots but ants infested our network attached storage device, so repairs are needed to access these files.. I also think they are to blame for the intermittent internet outages!

August 8

Image of Daisy and Dorsett.Daisy and Dorsett.

On July 30, the one osprey produced at this nest fledged. She was banded on June 28 with both a federal bird band and state auxiliary band, as part of Project RedBand, an osprey banding a re-sighting project on Barnegat Bay. 09/N is one of over 500 ospreys who have been banded with red auxiliary bands to learn more about them when alive. So far this season, 30 auxilliary banded ospreys have been re-sighted throughout their range in NJ, with most being breeding birds observed during nest surveys. A full report of all red banded ospreys re-sighted this year will be published in our NJ Osprey Project annual report.

Overall, results from our surveys and data from osprey cams show that they are having a very tough year. With many shortages of food and/or starvation being reported by osprey nest watchers. During many of our surveys, we found many empty nests and some with young had no adults present, which meant that both adults have been spending more time foraging to support their reduced broods. This is the aftermath of a nor'easter that impacted the area in mid-June, which caused adult menhaden to be less abundant. Large scale commercial fishing of menhaden may have also played a factor, especially along the southern extent of the New Jersey coast, where we witnessed widespread brood reduction and many nest failures during our surveys. Just last week I watched the Forsythe Osprey Cam, which has two fledglings (four young hatched). As one fledgling sat on the nest and awaited an incoming prey delivery from the adult male, the other fledgling came in and attacked its sibling for that prey. Right after that, I watched as the adult male returned several times with very small prey, which was not menhaden but more likely a small freshwater fish species. This too showed the effects of reduced menhaden, which is causing adults to forage more frequently while expending more energy. Thankfully here both adults have not had issues with catching prey, as they have brought in a variety of prey items including black sea bass, bluefish, summer flounder and atlantic bonito. Daisy has been doing a lot of foraging as well. This is to help her build up fat reserves for her southbound migration. In the coming weeks, she will begin her migration south. In September young will finally disperse before beginning their migration south. Mated pairs do separate during the non-breeding season and young of the year remain on their wintering grounds for two years. Sorry for the loss of my previous updates this season. It seems that they were removed from the page somehow. There is no backup for content that was posted and not saved, so I hope to write some small snippets of information at the end of the season to have a full summary of the season. -Ben

July 10

Well, it appears that my previous updates were deleted somehow and there is no backup...

June 24

Image of Daisy with one surviving nestling after several days of strong onshore winds and a missing mate. Daisy with one surviving nestling after several days of strong onshore winds and a missing mate.

The past few days have been difficult to watch for viewers of the BL Osprey Cam. As you've seen, the youngest nestling passed away earlier on Friday morning. Then this morning, the second oldest passed away. Both of these losses were the direct result of weather, specifically wind. From late Tuesday through Thursday we had stiff onshore winds. These northeast winds created waves which increased water turbidity and made fish more difficult to catch. Duke had not provided a fish to his mate and brood since Wednesday morning.

Since Thursday evening, Duke has not been seen. Winds out of the NE have moved on, but without a male, who does the majority of foraging it has been very difficult for the young to thrive. The lack of prey has now caused brood reduction. In the species it is quite common to see as availability of their prey varies throughout the region and world. In New Jersey, from this recent weather we have seen brood reduction occur at two other osprey cam nests -- Cape May Meadows Osprey Cam lost two of three hatchling age young and the Forsythe NWR Osprey Cam lost two of four young in this same time period.

February 9 - Below was copied from an online archive and pasted back to this page..

Only a month until we get some early spring arrivals of ospreys in New Jersey. Chat on YouTube will be open on February 25-26 from 7am - 8pm each day. Thank you to our volunteer moderators for offering to engage with the public during this time. We are seeking a couple more moderators to help oversee chat this summer. If you are interested, please email Ben Wurst.

January 30

Shout out to Ben P. and Rory M. w/ Pine Barrens Tree for stopping by the nest to clean out any plastic marine debris!

The countdown to the spring arrival of migratory ospreys has begun! Only ~35 days until ospreys begin arriving back in New Jersey on spring migration, though one has been observed at Lake of the Lilies in Ocean County for several weeks this winter...!

Special thanks to Rory & Ben from Pine Barrens Tree Service for devoting some time and use of their bucket truck to clean out any remnant plastic marine debris from the nest here. Some viewers had asked if we would clean out the dangerous plastics, including white balloon ribbon, plastic film and other plastics that were brought into the nest last summer. Thankfully the guys from PBT were working up in the Barnegat Light area and decided to stop by to clean it out. Thanks so much for their help to ensure that Daisy & Duke return to a safe, clean home.

With that said, from now until April 1 is when we finish any nest maintenance and repairs. This also includes cleaning out excess nesting material, including any and all harmful plastics. Hoping to put together a short video showcasing some of this off season work to engage more volunteers to help do the same to their local nests. BW

January 3, 2023

Osprey 93/H photographed on 7/26/22 near Loveladies, NJ.

Happy New Year, BL Osprey Cam fans! As I work to finalize osprey survey data and write our report from 2022, I thought I'd share some BL Osprey Cam alumni news. During one of my surveys near LBI last summer, I photographed a red banded osprey in flight. Thankfully the red band was readable, 93/H. This was one of seven red banded ospreys that I re-sighted last summer. I didn't realize it at the time, but this was a young bird that had fledged from the BL Osprey Cam nest (122-B-021) in 2018! This was one of two that were produced at this nest and the first at this location. This was also the year before we upgraded the nest platform and install the camera system.

Osprey 93/H after being banded on July 9, 2018 in Barnegat Light, NJ.

When I looked back at my data and the date banded (July 9, 2018), I then realized that this was the epic day that we filmed footage for the NJ Osprey Project trailer, "New Jersey's Ospreys: A Symbol of a Healthy Coast" with Oak Leaf Media, Northside Jim & AC Electric. The banding of 93/H at the future BL Osprey Cam is seen near the end of the video.

This is not the first time that 93/H has been re-sighted either. He was re-sighted after fledging in Barnegat Light in late September. Since he is only 4 years old, he is likely not settled down at a nest yet, but since he is a male, he will be returning to establish a nest in the Barnegat Light area in the future. We will have to keep our eyes peeled for him to make an appearance at the BL Osprey Cam this year. I know I will be looking for him on the bay this spring and summer!

Lastly, you may have seen the live stream stop, start, etc several times today. I am trying to stream at 1080P again for that great HD picture we all love. We have received warnings from Comcast about using too much bandwidth last year, so we decided to reduce resolution of the stream. Well, time to bump it up again and see how things go. We would love to stream at 1080P (or even 4K w/ a new camera) but are not sure if the added internet cost is worth it. Either way, we are always looking for ways to get reduced rates from our ISP! -BW


2018: This platform was first used in 2018 after being installed many years ago by the Garden Club of LBI. We knew this would be the perfect site for a camera, with access to power and internet. We received a generous grant from the Osprey Foundation to install a new camera at this location in late 2018.

Early 2019: We presented our idea for a nest cam to the Town Council of the Borough of Barnegat Light and they enthusiastically approved.

February: We consulted with an electrian, ITS Electric Service LLC and they helped obtain construction permits and install service for us.

Late-March: Electric service was installed and the camera and associated equipment was attached to the osprey nest platform, after that was repaired by adding a new nest box.


Ben Wurst, Senior Wildlife Biologist: Email

Find Related Info: Osprey

Report Prey Deliveries!

Image of menhaden

You can help ospreys by reporting fish that are caught at this nest by reporting your observations using the form linked to below. Everyone who contributes will be entered into a contest to win a CWF/New Jersey Osprey Project t-shirt!


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