Plastic bag hangs off Osprey nest on North Hill Road. Jim Reid Photo

This osprey nest on North Hill Road is emblematic of the threat posed by the ubiquitous use of plastic. FIConservancy Board Member Marina Caillaud noticed the plastic bag plus “quite a bit of plastic” in the nest and balloon strings hanging from the nest.

Ben Wurst, of the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, noticed plastic in nests when he began working with ospreys in 2004. After years of work clearing plastic from osprey nests, he is seeing more plastic in nests than ever.

A recent Audubon web article reported that about 8.3 billion metric tons of virgin plastic has been produced since the 1950s, mostly to manufacture consumer products. Of that, 6.3 billion metric tons went unrecycled, with most of it ending up in landfills and the environment.