Public Observations Requested for Statewide Osprey Census

Jun 20, 2013
Photo by: Jack Reynolds Ospreys sit atop their nest off of Beach Haven.

Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey is helping coordinate a statewide census of nesting ospreys, and is requesting data from public observations.

The last census was conducted in 2009, with 486 nesting pairs found across the state.

“For the first time in the project’s history, Conserve Wildlife Foundation, in partnership with N.J. Fish and Wildlife’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program, has released the locations of almost 1,000 nest sites in New Jersey, said Ben Wurst, the foundation’s habitat program manager. Since ospreys nest in very close proximity to people, we are asking for the public to report activity at nests online through a community-based website run by the Center for Conservation Biology called ‘OspreyWatch.

Opsrey young are visible in nests once they reach three weeks of age, which is typically in late June.

Individuals who have an osprey nest on their property or regularly watch a nest can submit information to OspreyWatchs global community of observers. The mission of OspreyWatch is to collect information on a large enough spatial scale to be useful in addressing three of the most pressing issues facing aquatic ecosystems including global climate change, depletion of fish stocks, and environmental contaminants,” notes the OspreyWatch website,

Visitors to the OspreyWatch site can join the New Jersey Osprey Project Monitoring Group and report nesting observations to help determine the total size of the health of the state population, and it will also help engage citizens in the monitoring and conservation of ospreys in New Jersey,” Wurst remarked.

According to the foundation, ospreys have made a remarkable recovery in New Jersey, with the population increasing from only 53 pairs in the early 1970s to almost 500 pairs in 2009. Today we believe that there are close to 550 nesting pairs and need your help to prove it.

Additionally, because ospreys feed on many of the same species of fish as humans, they are an indicator species,and the health of their population can shed light on some of the most concerning environmental issues we face: contaminants, climate change and overfishing.

For more information, contact Wurst at or 609-628-2103, or N.J. Division of Fish and Wildlife Supervisory Zoologist Kathy Clark at or 609-628-1605.

Juliet Kaszas-Hoch




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