Friday, March 6, 2015

Birds Threatened and Endangered in the NJ Meadowlands

  Endangered Peregrine Falcon under the Route 3 bridge staff photo by Michael Karas
Though some people from outside New Jersey may think of the Meadowlands as a swath of green by the Turnpike and other northern NJ highways, hopefully natives of our state are better informed.

The Meadowlands are home to a large variety of birds and the area and its inhabitants are generally experiencing a revival.

There are 20 endangered and 14 threatened bird species in New Jersey, two of which have also earned the endangered classification at the federal level. In the Meadowlands, at least 18 nesting birds are on New Jersey's watch list, according to Jim Wright, bird columnist, member of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission and blogger at The Meadowlands Nature Blog

Nesting in the Meadowlands are 4 endangered species - Pied-billed Grebe, Peregrine Falcon, Least Tern and Northern Harrier - and 4 threatened species - Osprey, Savannah Sparrow, Yellow-crowned Night Heron and Black-crowned Night Heron.

And there are also 10 species of "special concern" - not yet threatened - that nest here: American Kestrel, Barn Owl, Brown Thrasher, Common Gallinule (moorhen), Common Nighthawk, Horned Lark, Least Bittern, Saltmarsh Sparrow, Spotted Sandpiper and Virginia Rail.

A yellow crowned night heron - threatened in NJ and appearing
in the Meadowlands. This one was spotted in Carlstadt.
Ospreys and Peregrine Falcons have been experiencing a comeback in the past few decades. There are 24 pairs of Peregrine Falcons nesting in the state, including in Jersey City and Newark. There are first-year falcons in the Meadowlands and other young falcons hunting there. Adults have nested on two bridges in the Hackensack River in recent years.

The Meadowlands is a good location to see the endangered Northern Harrier which can appear year-round but primarily in the winter.

The Meadowlands is also a temporary home for migrating birds, translating to about 280 species of birds spending at least part of the year in the area.

SOURCE: Birds fighting extinction here in Meadows

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