Wildlife foundation: NJ osprey population on the rise

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BARNEGATE LIGHT -

New Jersey’s osprey population is on the rise, according to the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

The organization says that Monmouth and Ocean counties saw the largest population increases, but the birds can be seen anywhere there is water in New Jersey.

“Osprey's range anywhere from the Meadowlands down to Cape May and all the way over to the Salem generating station and along the Delaware River. The population has grown as well to up towards Philadelphia,” says the foundation’s Ben Wurst.

About 668 active osprey nests were spotted in the most recent census – 75 of those nests popping up within the last four years.

This is the time of year that, I like to say we're rolling out the red carpet for ospreys,” Wurst says. “When they leave in the fall, when they come back in the spring, they come back to the same nest sites, and they don't really know if they're nests will still be here."

The osprey population took a hit in the 1970s because DDT, the pesticide once used to kill mosquitoes, was harmful to the birds. DDT caused the eggshells to be thin, and they often broke during incubation. DDT was banned in 1972

More information about ospreys and their nesting habits can be found at ospreywatch.org.

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