Citizen Scientists Sought to Help Collect Data on Nesting Ospreys

Jul 19, 2017
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

It’s the middle of the osprey nesting season in New Jersey, and Conserve Wildlife Foundation is asking citizen scientists to help with estimates of the size and health of the population throughout the state. For those interested, “getting involved is easy and will end up getting you hooked on watching ospreys,” CWF Habitat Program Manager Ben Wurst wrote in a blog post earlier this month.

“Ospreys are an indicator species, and as top tier predators, they show the effects of contaminants in the environment before many other long-lived species,” Wurst explained. “They are our new-age ‘canary in the coal mine,’ so keeping tabs on the health of their population is key to assessing the health of our estuarine and marine ecosystems.”

Fortunately, osprey numbers have steadily risen from only 50 pairs in the early 1970s to more than 600 pairs today.

The last statewide census, in 2013, was performed by CWF and the N.J. Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program, with the known locations of osprey nests published online at osprey-watch.org.

Wurst’s blog post, at conservewildlifenj.org/blog/2017/07/06/calling-all-osprey-lovers, includes information for individuals helping to observe nests. The information can be logged at osprey-watch.org, and CWF will use the data to help determine the overall size of the state population. —J.K.-H.

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