Osprey Report Details Species’ Remarkable Recovery in New Jersey

Feb 15, 2017
File Photo by: Ryan Morrill Conserve Wildlife Foundation of N.J. Habitat Program Manager Ben Wurst works with an osprey in Barnegat Light in 2014.

Active osprey nests in New Jersey have reached 515, with 42 new nests found, according to the nonprofit Conserve Wildlife Foundation of N.J. and the N.J. Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program. Earlier this month the groups released their 2016 N.J. Osprey Project Report, which highlights the monitoring and protection of this threatened bird of prey.

The majority of nests are along the Atlantic coast, with the most productive nests located on the Delaware Bay shore.

As the report notes, a total of 670 young were produced from 376 known-outcome nests, and 361 young were banded by volunteers and staff for future tracking. Population growth has remained around 10 percent since approximately 2009.

“At the beginning of nesting surveys each year, I attempt to speculate on how well ospreys are doing,” said CWF Habitat Program Manager Ben Wurst. “I started this year by simply saying that I’m optimistic for the positive outcome of the nesting season. Well, ospreys made my speculation seem quite dismal. I’m astonished by their continued growth while living in very close proximity to humans. I’m thankful for all support that we receive to help carry out this project to monitor and manage ospreys.”

As CWF pointed out, ospreys are ideal wildlife bioindicators, and continued monitoring of their population is critical for the species’ long-term conservation and the health of our ecosystems.

“Only decades ago, ospreys had drastically declined across New Jersey and the nation, which makes their continuing recovery all the more remarkable,” said CWF Executive Director David Wheeler. “The ospreys’ expansion speaks both to the improving water quality of our estuaries and rivers, and the dedication and leadership of our state and CWF biologists and volunteers.”

To view the complete osprey report online, visit ConserveWildlifeNJ.org. —J.K.-H.

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