Nesting season is underway as eggs are being incubated throughout NJ!
Banding young at a nest on a channel marker on B. Bay. photo by Northside Jim.
I seem to send these personalized emails on a very random basis. I know most, if not all of you, follow along on both
CWF's (@wildlifenj) and our
NJ Osprey Project (@njospreyproject) social media accounts to see what's going on. Either way, this spring we've kept busy as relentless Nor'easters with the associated coastal flooding and high winds have made many nest platform repairs difficult. Despite the challenging weather, we've made repairs to over a dozen nests in March and early April. Some of the most common repairs are nestbox replacement, predator guard replacement, and platform bracing (straightening). So far; so good!
We always ask for input from the public if they see any nests that are in need of repair since we normally do not visit nest sites more than once a year. In an effort to help reduce nestboxes from falling apart it is critical that they are built using ONLY stainless steel wood screws and treated wood (or cedar/mahogany). It is also very helpful to remove excessive nesting material as it adds even more stress to aging platforms. We are going to put out calls for Eagle Scout projects to help us to "Blitz" all watersheds throughout the state over the next 1-2 years (during the non-breeding season) to help clean out nests and strengthen with stainless hardware. If you know anyone who might be interested than please forward them this email!
In other news, we are planning to use a sUAS (small unmanned aircraft system)/drone to survey nests inside Great Bay Blvd. Wildlife Management Area and a few other areas along the coast this spring/summer. We hope to use this growing technology to help expand our survey efforts and reach nests that can't be reached with an extension ladder (like nests on utility poles). We also hope to show that this type of technology, if used appropriately, can reduce the amount of disturbance that we cause at nests while conducting nest surveys.
We've obtained all the necessary permits and licenses from the federal and state government and hope to begin use in May!
Banding young with red bands at a nest behind LBIF on B. Bay. photo by Northside Jim.
Lastly, and most importantly, over the past 10+ years the osprey population and our role in managing them has grown.
While we enjoy a close working relationship with
NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife's Endangered and Nongame Species Program, we no longer are able to use the boat needed to access large areas of the coast to survey nests from Point Pleasant to Atlantic City and beyond. We've used it to conduct post-severe weather surveys to rescue young ospreys that have fallen to the ground. It has been an essential tool to help install over 175 osprey platforms and has transported well over 200 project supporters and volunteers. Its solid hull has allowed us to get out (and back) in inclement weather. Without the use of this NJ Fish & Wildlife boat we will be forced to survey fewer nests since our small 14' jon boat cannot handle open water and long distances like this boat could.
With that said, we are planning to fundraise to buy a new boat which will be dedicated for use by our New Jersey Osprey Project, to continue our work to manage nesting platforms, and monitor nests. We all know the value of ospreys in our coastal ecosystems, so without closely monitoring them now and in the future, we might miss documenting new and emerging threats to the health of our aquatic ecosystems. We hope to launch the fundraising campaign in the next month and purchase a boat before mid-summer osprey surveys begin. In my calculations, if 1,000 people donated $25 each, then we would meet our $25,000 goal.
Stay tuned for more news with our boat fundraising plan and project updates. If you'd like to see more of these personal emails, then please, let me know!
Thank you all for your continued support!
Habitat Program Manager
NJ OSPREY PROJECT BOAT BONUS SHOTS!
Volunteer Jim Bowie holds onto 99+ balloons that he collected on the marsh and from within view of an active osprey nest.
Cruising through a small creek inside Great Bay Blvd. WMA. photo by Ray Hennessy.
Volunteers shove off after installing a platform in 2009 inside Great Bay Blvd. WMA.
Repairing a historic nest on B. Bay in 2008.
Balloons and ribbon collected from an active nest in N. Barnegat Bay.
Just a little trash collected on this survey....
Hard to tell land from sea at this public boat ramp. photo by Northside Jim.