New Jersey Osprey Monitoring Project Weathers Pandemic to Record Productive Year for Species

Family members Meeting: Osprey parents retain an eye on their toddlers in a manmade nesting platform in Barnegat Light in June 2019. The younger raptors ended up likely born the thirty day period prior. (Photograph by Jack Reynolds)
Keeping an eye on the state’s osprey populace very last year proved a little bit tough for the New Jersey Osprey Monitoring Venture, but the Preserve Wildlife Basis and its volunteers persisted, and recorded an additional effective extend for the species.
“From social distancing and functioning from home (with little ones) to extreme wind events and dealing with the impacts of individuals on ospreys, 2020 turned out to be quite the yr,” claimed Ben Wurst, habitat program supervisor for CWF.
As Wurst defined, ospreys arrived in the place – as normal – in late March and early April. Most of the raptors nest on gentleman-made platforms, even though other nests “can be observed on intracoastal waterway markers, conversation towers, utility poles, snags or something else in the vicinity of drinking water that will maintain a nest,” stated Wurst. “In 2020, we recorded 53 new nests, numerous of which ended up natural nests.”
Ospreys generally lay eggs in late April, but as the local climate warms, they are starting off to lay eggs sooner. The the greater part of eggs hatch in late May perhaps, “and this is when the male makes the most energy to discover and catch prey to present for his family members,” Wurst famous. “Anecdotal observations by commercial fishermen, recreational anglers and coastal guides described that menhaden, the most important prey for ospreys throughout the peak of their nesting year, was plentiful. This served established the stage for a further effective year for ospreys.”
In mid-summer, staff and volunteers executed nesting surveys in the most densely populated colonies from northern Barnegat Bay to Cape Might and west together the Delaware Bayshore. “This is when most young are significant adequate to be witnessed over the nest rim and old sufficient to be banded by staff members and volunteers,” explained Wurst. “Nests are accessed with an extension ladder and the number of young are recorded. We also use a pole-mounted mirror or GoPro to look into nests to decrease disturbance. Lots of other osprey nests are surveyed from a distance by citizen scientists who report nest action observations through Osprey Observe, a worldwide community of osprey watchers.
“Overall, the end result was established in 79 % of occupied nests, which is definitely terrific contemplating all the issues faced,” he included. There was “a complete of 503 energetic nests, which produced 812 younger. The typical statewide productiveness level, which is a measure of the health and fitness of the population, was 1.61 youthful/active (regarded final result) for every nest. This was the most affordable recorded given that 2009, but even now double the price desired to maintain the inhabitants. Regardless of the lessen efficiency rate, ospreys even now had a respectable year and proceed to increase nesting colonies.”
A whole of 209 young were being banded for long term tracking, with 55 of those people, from nests on Barnegat Bay, furnished with red anodized aluminum rivet bands bearing an alpha-numeric code that will allow birders, osprey watchers and wildlife photographers to determine the individual birds by their bands. The auxiliary bands are component of Job RedBand, a citizen-science system built to interact locals and site visitors to the Jersey Shore in osprey administration and conservation.
As Wurst pointed out, “An wonderful 47 banded older people ended up re-sighted live or recovered as hurt or lifeless. The majority had been dwell purple-banded ospreys – 35 – who have returned to New Jersey to breed as adults, which is the most at any time in the history of Venture RedBand.
“Our information reveals that males return extremely shut to their natal areas and females have a tendency to wander. Getting re-sightings of red-banded adults is important to discover a lot more about their lifestyle background as grownups. Wildlife photographers are inspired to check out the coastline and look for ospreys with red bands when they return in the spring. Any person who captures a photograph of the pink-banded osprey is hugely encouraged to report the band to CWF and U.S. Geological Study Hen Banding Lab.”
Wurst also pointed out, as section of the Osprey Monitoring Project’s ongoing observations, “Persistent plastic maritime particles carries on to threaten both equally adult and young ospreys. When plastics enter our waterways, it washes up onto high marsh places and in wrack lines, where ospreys obtain nesting content. Plastics like monofilament fishing line, twine, rope, balloon ribbon, mesh luggage and single-use plastic baggage can very easily entangle or suffocate an osprey.
“This yr we experienced several incidents the place both grown ups and younger were entangled in plastics and emergency rescues were being required to cost-free them. We can all make a variation to aid ospreys by lowering our use of solitary-use plastics, not releasing balloons and picking up plastic litter in coastal parts.”
Wurst thanked all the volunteers for their function, and all donors for their assist, and mentioned the team is looking “towards a shiny long run of a healthful and secure osprey population.”
Entry the 2020 New Jersey Osprey Project Report at
— Juliet Kaszas-Hoch

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