Conserve Wildlife Blog

Nesting Bald Eagles

January 16th, 2012


Photo taken with a high powered camera lens from a safe distance © Jeffrey White

by Larissa Smith; biologist/volunteer manager

Bald eagles are beautiful birds so it only makes sense that people want to get a closer look at them.  But often people don’t realize that by innocently stopping to look at an eagle nest they are putting the eggs or young in jeopardy.  As the New Jersey eagle population increases eagles are starting to nest in closer proximity to humans and human activity.  Any activity that causes the eagles to change their normal behavior is “disturbance.”  People walking too close to the nest to get a closer look or take photos will cause the birds to get off the eggs or leave the young unattended.  This leaves the eggs or young exposed to the elements and predators.  The safe distance for viewing is at least 1,000’ from the nest site.  If the birds are looking at you then you are too close.

The best way to see what goes on at an eagle’s nest without the chance of disturbing the birds is to watch them online.  The Duke Farms eagle nest site has had a camera streaming the picture since 2008.  This provides an up close and personal view that you cannot see from the ground.  The Duke Farms eagle cam should be streaming live in the next few weeks.  To view the eagle cam go to

If you have any questions about eagles or their nests or would like to report a nesting pair, please contact Larissa Smith.



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