We were only able to get to a few nests before the brutality drove us home, but not with our tails between our legs. We were able to check five nests, band six healthy young Osprey, and remove piles of human plastic garbage & debris from each & every nest we visited. At one nest we sadly discovered what appeared to be a single-parent home. The father was attempting the impossible task of raising three young alone. Sadly, one of the young did not make it and was decomposing badly in the nest, mixed in with the surviving siblings. But the other chicks were soldiering onward admidst the remains of their fallen sibling, and appear close to fledging. Every Osprey counts.
Witnessing Ben’s maniacal dedication, I learned that when you’re dealing with recovering species, each and every nest really matters! The fact that Ben & the NJ Osprey Project are willing to go to such extremes to fight for every single one of our individual Osprey is rooted in the true understanding of just how important each & every Osprey really is in the fight to help repair & restore the ecosystem of the shore we love so much.
You & I didn’t mean to poison the Bay & Osprey (and ourselves!) to near-extinction with the DDT pesticide. And you & I don’t mean to choke the ecosystem of the shore and kill the Osprey with our cheap plastics and trash. But we did it, and we do it. Ben is on the front lines and sees this everyday. Tagging along, I’ve now seen it too and I feel super guilty!
I normally feel pretty proud of myself for my own little recycling efforts… but the truth is, you’d have to be a complete moron to not be in favor of recycling in this day and age. And sadly, I’d bet that a large percentage of the Osprey-killing recyclable trash I saw out there blew straight into the Bay out of my recycling bin, the truck that hauls it away, and the mysterious facility that processes it! Sure, much of that trash is bio-degradable, but it is out there killing Osprey and others long before it has a chance to do its much-ballyhooed biodegradation.
Recycling is a comforting attempt at a solution, but it’s clearly not enough. I’m feeling compelled to reduce. And I’m more motivated to clean it up when I see it. I struggle with this because it sure is annoying to be on a beautiful walk or photo shoot on the beach and stumble upon a big, nasty, dirty pile of Mylar Balloons reading “Happy Graduation!” You then have to gunk up you hands, and haul it around with you, and find some trash receptacle for it when you could be otherwise enjoying your vacation.
But I see that it does matter. Everything matters, and everything counts. Just like the Osprey showed us the folly of pouring poison all over the planet to grow a little more food more quickly decades ago, they are now showing us the folly of the convenience of disposable plastics and how we are going to ultimately choke on our our own waste. Yikes!
I don’t have any real answers here. But I am taking an important first step by refusing to allow my lazy brain to self-soothe and tell me it is O.K., that it doesn’t matter… that I can leave that piece of trash for the next guy to pick up, or take the plastic bag when I could easily carry my WaWa treats to the car in my hands. The next guy to pick it up will probably be an Osprey.
In the meantime, while I try to get my act together and stop being an unintentional Bay-Destroyer and Osprey-Killer, join me in supporting Ben Wurst & The NJ Osprey Project by making a donation to the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ. Just like each and every Osprey, and each and every piece of trash, every donation counts! Please help these guys keep the beach a little nicer, and a little more wild, for the rest of us to enjoy.