Conserve Wildlife Blog

Archive for the ‘Eagles’ Category

Part 3: Where are the Three Bridges eagles nesting?

Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

by: Larissa Smith, Wildlife Biologist

In part one and two of this blog series we followed the Three Bridges eagle pair. The transmission tower where they had previously nested was replaced and a new nesting platform installed. The question was: would the pair return and use the new nesting platform? Eagle Project volunteers have been closely monitoring the tower and surrounding areas for the eagle pair. The eagles have not been seen at their old nesting tower. At one point it looked like they were building a nest on an adjacent tower, but the amount of sticks never increased. Then a new eagle nest was found in a tree about a mile away from the tower location.

After many observations by nest monitors it is believed that this is the Three Bridges pair. While we can’t be 100 percent certain, the fact that they haven’t been seen at their old nest location and that this new nest is close enough to be in their territory. It is not uncommon for eagle pairs to relocate their nest if there is disturbance to the nest site. While it is disappointing, the new nest platform might not go to waste. Nest monitors have seen immature eagles perched on the newly installed tower and nest platform.

As the number of eagles’s nesting in NJ continues to increase, it only makes sense that a pair will eventually use the nesting platform in the future.

Eagles In Every County: NJDEP Posts 2020 Bald Eagle Press Release

Thursday, January 7th, 2021

NJDEP & CWF REPORT RECORD NUMBER OF BALD EAGLE NESTS, WITH EAGLES CONFIRMED IN ALL 21 NJ COUNTIES

by Ethan Gilardi, Wildlife Biologist

Photo by Northside Jim

2020 was a record breaking year for Bald Eagles in New Jersey. Going from just one recorded nest in 1980, New Jersey’s Bald Eagles hit three major milestones this year in terms of new nests, locations and total nests monitored.

A record 36 new eagle nests were found in 2020. 22 nests were found in southern New Jersey, seven in northern New Jersey, and seven in central New Jersey.

This means that Bald Eagle are now confirmed to nest in every county in the state!

An astounding (and record breaking) 220 nesting pairs of eagles were also monitored in 2020. These pairs produced a total of 307 eaglets, with an additional 28 nesting pairs tracked to nests, but laying no eggs. Of the 210 known-outcome nests, an average of 1.46 young were produced per nest, exceeding the productivity rate necessary to maintain a stable population of 1.0 young per nest.

These numbers could not have been achieved or documented without the dedicated efforts of the almost one hundred volunteers with the Bald Eagle Nest Monitor program, managed by the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ in partnership with the Endangered and Nongame Species Program. These volunteers conduct the majority of the nest-observation work vital to the Endangered and Nongame Species Program in tracking the population and nest distribution of our state’s Bald Eagles.

“The comeback of the bald eagle in New Jersey ranks among the most inspiring recoveries of endangered wildlife species anywhere,” said David Wheeler, Executive Director of the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ. “The bald eagle’s return illustrates what is possible for many other rare species when you bring together proactive wildlife management, strong public investment, and the unparalleled dedication of biologists and volunteers.”

CWF thanks our dedicated volunteers and partners who make our bald eagle conservation work possible, including PSE&G, Wakefern Food Corp./ShopRite Stores, P&G, Wells Fargo, Mercer County Parks, Wildlife Center Friends, the American Eagle Foundation, and the Zoological Society of New Jersey.

Click here to read the full NJDEP press release.


Learn more about CWF’s Bald Eagle Project & read the annual Bald Eagle Project Reports by clicking here.

Learn about tracking Bald Eagles through New Jersey EagleTrax by clicking here.

Learn more about Bald Eagles in CWF’s Field Guide by clicking here.

Part 2: An eagle nest reinstalled

Thursday, December 10th, 2020

by: CWF biologist Larissa Smith

In Part one of this blog series the Three Bridges eagle nest was removed from the transmission tower. The tower was then dismantled. The next step was the installation of the new tower. This tower design is different then the old tower which had a lattice structure on top where the eagles built their nest. Since this new tower didn’t have have the same structure to support a nest, an eagle nest platform was designed and built .

During the entire procedure the Three Bridges eagle nest monitors recorded the eagle pairs activities. They were often perched on the nearby towers watching the activity. Nest monitor Mary Ellen Hill saw one of the eagles fly over to the new pole and hover above before flying back to another tower.

eagle hovering over arm of new tower 12/29/20@ Mary Ellen Hill

On a cold, snowy day the eagle nest was placed into the nest platform. The nest platform was then hoisted up to the arm of the tower and bolted in place. Now we wait and see if the pair will return and nest in their “old” nest on the new nest platform and tower.

Thank you to all the Eagle Project volunteers who monitor this nest and PSE &G employees who have worked hard to finish this project before eagle nesting season.

Part 1: An Eagle Nest Removed

Monday, November 23rd, 2020

by Larissa Smith, CWF Biologist

April 21, 2020, Three Bridges adult with 2 chicks@ Daniel Kroon

The following was written by NJ Eagle Project volunteer, Daniel Kroon. He monitors this nest along with several other dedicated volunteers whose photos are featured in this blog.

The Three Bridges (Hunterdon County) eagle nest is located on the top arm of an electric transmission tower. This pair has successfully nested on the tower for the past five years. This line of towers is scheduled to be replaced with new monopoles and the work on it has recently begun. PSE&G is cooperating with the NJ Bald Eagle program to move this nest to a new pole platform. Unfortunately, the pair is already on territory and have been observed bringing a stick to the old nest. It is an interesting story of how these eagles are adapting to the human-created environment and how we are trying to accommodate them.

The pair at nest October 17, 2020 before work begins @ Mary Ellen Hill

On November 4, PSE&G removed the top of the tower, keeping the nest intact, and lowered it to the ground where they carefully removed the nest from the tower structure. The nest is stored in a shed and will be re-installed on a platform affixed to the new tower when it is erected. We hope the eagle pair accept their remodeled home.

The evening of the nest removal, volunteer Mary Ellen Hill observed the pair sitting together on the adjacent tower.

November 4th, 2020 @ Mary Ellen Hill
November 4th, 2020, pair on adjacent tower after nest removal@ Mary Ellen Hill

We will follow up with part two of this story once the new monopole tower is installed and the nest is placed back up on the platform. We thank all the nest monitors, PSE&G and everyone involved to make this as successful as possible.

Help Us Continue the Inspiring Recovery of New Jersey’s Bald Eagles: The first $5,000 donated will be matched dollar for dollar!

Thursday, September 24th, 2020

by Larissa Smith, CWF Biologist

Photo by Barb McKee

None of us could have predicted what would happen in 2020, and that’s certainly true for New Jersey’s bald eagles.

When our eagle volunteers joined me at our kick-off training in February, we prepared as usual to monitor known nests and educate landowners and the public about the importance of minimizing disturbance to our breeding pairs.

We never imagined how important eagles would become to so many people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dozens of you shared the wonder you felt in seeing eagles fly overhead, some for the first time. Eagles became a sign of strength and resilience for those staying at home, as well as those venturing out to do essential work.

And New Jersey’s eagle population soared – both literally and figuratively – breaking records with more than 200 active nests (with eggs) and 300 young fledged – up from just one pair in the early 1980’s.

We can thank our devoted eagle volunteers for this year’s success, as well as the individual, foundation, and corporate supporters who came through with funding to support our tireless efforts.

Unfortunately, not everyone who gave in the past, or who expected to give this year, donated as planned. And we recently learned that we’re losing our largest project funder for the coming season.

That is why I’m asking you to donate today to help CWF raise $10,000 to help cover the shortfall. Two generous donors have each put up a $2,500 match, which means that the first $5,000 donated will be matched dollar for dollar.

While having the best season on record is exciting news for all of us, important work remains to be done. Eagles still face serious threats of habitat loss and disturbance. The increasing population will require an even larger team of trained volunteers to observe nesting behavior and determine egg laying, hatching, and fledging dates. It also means an increase in the number of injured eagles which will need help. All of this takes time and resources.

For my part, I’m happiest when I’m outside working with bald eagles as I have for 20 years. After all, I’m a biologist, not a fundraiser! But in this case, I’m reaching out to ask for your support for the Eagle Project. We have overcome financial challenges in the past with the help of people like you. Whether you have always supported this project, or have newfound appreciation for these majestic raptors, please help us to ensure that this incredible success story continues to inspire all of us!

Thank you and stay safe.


Learn more about CWF’s Bald Eagle Project here.

Learn more about New Jersey EagleTrax here.

Watch the CWF/Duke Farms Eagle Cam here.