Osprey Couple Welcomes Two More Nestlings

By Eric Englund | Jul 24, 2019
Courtesy of: Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey

Beach Haven, NJ — Last spring, Mordecai Island in Beach Haven became home to a pair of love birds – in this case, ospreys named Captain and Belle. And now the osprey couple are raising two adorable and healthy nestlings this season. On July 8, Ben Wurst of the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey and Michele Budd, Mordecai Land Trust vice president and biologist, surveyed the nest to tag the 4-week-old nestlings with a federal USGS bird band and a red auxiliary “field readable” leg band. They are now included in Conserve Wildlife’s Project RedBand, a Barnegat Bay- New Jersey osprey management and conservation program,

“The data that is collected from local citizen sightings is used by researchers to learn more about the osprey’s life, habitats, migration and feeding,” said Budd.

She said the first osprey platform on Mordecai was erected by the late Nicholas “Nickie” Cotov in 1994. Known colloquially as “Captain Bly,” he was a marina owner but also is remembered for erecting many osprey platforms within the Barnegat Bay area to assist in repopulating this declining species.

“The Mordecai platform, however, was never home to an active nest because it was located in an area on the island that was prone to predators,” said Budd. “Over the years, the platform’s condition deteriorated, and it became clear that it could no longer safely support the weight of a nest.”

In 2016, the land trust was approached by Wurst, who wanted to remove the old platform and build a new one on the island. Under his guidance and with the assistance of members from the land trust and ReClam the Bay, a new platform was erected on the southeast side in October 2016.

Budd said Mordecai’s first osprey egg was laid between May 25 and 27 last year, with hatching occurring in June. That bird also received a red auxiliary “field readable” leg band.

She said moving the stand to the southeast side benefits homeowners who like to watch the young ospreys.

“They can be clearly seen from some homes,” she said. “I have received reports from residents who have seen the nestlings flapping their wings. Pretty soon they’ll be taking off.”

— Eric Englund


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