Conserve Wildlife Blog

Bald Eagles Make a Comeback

May 16th, 2016

Reflections on the Eagles of Atlantic County, New Jersey

by Larissa Smith, Wildlife Biologist/Volunteer Manager

Photo of Nacote on 4/8/2016 by Kelly Hunt.

Photo of Nacote on 4/8/2016 by Kelly Hunt.

It’s always a wonderful sight to see a bald eagle soaring up in the sky or perched in a tree. Today, if you live in South Jersey, the chances of seeing an eagle are pretty good. When I first began working with the New Jersey Bald Eagle Project in 2000, there were 25 nesting eagle pairs in New Jersey. Today, the State Endangered and Nongame Species Program along with Conserve Wildlife Foundation are monitoring over 160 pairs throughout the state! Needless to say, the eagle population is doing very well due to the recovery efforts and the team of dedicated New Jersey Eagle Project volunteers and supporters.

 

Today, there are seven known nesting pairs of eagles in Atlantic County. The longest residing pair in Atlantic County is the Galloway pair. Since 1996, the pair has raised and fledged a total of 29 chicks. During that time, the pair has moved their nest twice and the adults in the pair have most likely changed. Though eagles do mate for life, when one in the pair is injured or killed another is waiting to take it’s place. Jack Connor is one of our dedicated eagle project volunteers and has been monitoring the Galloway pair since they were first discovered in 1996. He has an intimate knowledge of this pair since he is out monitoring them every week during the nesting season. He has experienced the joy of seeing a chick(s) in the nest and the thrill of getting to hold one of those chicks at a banding. But he’s also had disappointment when a nest fails, which can happen during incubation or after hatching. In 2009, the nest collapsed and the two chicks didn’t survive. He has witnessed the determination of these birds to come back year after year.

 

In 2014, the chick at the Galloway nest was outfitted with a transmitter. This allows us to follow his movements after leaving the nest. The bird named ‘Nacote’ has been to Canada and back. He is now in Atlantic County and was spotted at Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in April. Eagles reach sexual maturity at five years of age, so he has a few more years until he’ll start nesting. To follow Nacote’s movements, visit our website.

 

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Larissa Smith is the Wildlife Biologist/Volunteer Manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

 

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