This is the sort of news that’s for the birds — in the best way. Surveys of osprey and eagle populations conducted last year by the Department of Environmental Protection’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program and the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey counted 42 new osprey nests, for a record total of 515. The Atlantic coast — in particular, the wetlands and waterways around Barnegat Bay and Great Egg Harbor — accounted for the vast majority of nests.
The survey documented a record 172 nesting or territorial pairs of bald eagles, up from 161 the previous year, with southern New Jersey, especially the Delaware Bay region, remaining the species’ stronghold.
The Endangered and Nongame Species Program’s efforts protecting these and a wide variety of other species depend in large part on funds provided by the Endangered Wildlife Fund state income-tax check-off, which allows taxpayers to provide a portion of their state refunds to fund wildlife protection.
The Endangered Wildlife Fund check-off is on Line 59 of Form NJ-1040.