Conserve Wildlife Blog

Archive for the ‘Raptors’ Category

2021 NJ Bald Eagle Project Report Released

Saturday, January 8th, 2022

NJDEP & CWF Announce Successful Bald Eagle Nesting Season

by Larissa Smith, CWF biologist

Somerset County pair, by NJ Eagle Project Monitor, Rose Joy

The NJDEP and Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey have released the annual NJ Bald Eagle Project Report.

The 2021 nesting season was another successful one for New Jersey’s bald eagles, with the statewide population remaining stable at 247 nest sites. Of these nests, 222 were active (with eggs) with 296 young produced. Twenty-seven new eagle pairs were found.

These numbers could not have been achieved or documented without the dedicated efforts of the 130 New Jersey Eagle Project volunteers who conduct the majority of the nest-observation work vital to tracking the population and nest distribution of our state’s Bald eagles. CWF is honored to manage these volunteers in partnership with the Endangered and Nongame Species Program and thanks them for their invaluable service.

CWF would also like to thank our 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 NJ Bald Eagle Project Report

Further Reading:

Found! Duke’s Tracker Reboots

Wednesday, December 29th, 2021

by Barbara McKee, NJ Eagle Project Volunteer

“Duke” December 19th, 2021 by Barb McKee

A year ago November I began tracking Duke. I was fortunate to see and photograph him more than a dozen times and wrote two blogs for CWF about these adventures. 

See “Duke’s Homecoming” and “Playing Hide and Seek with an Eagle”.

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A New Season of Wonder at Three Bridges Eagle Cam

Wednesday, December 8th, 2021

by Larissa Smith, CWF biologist

Three Bridges adult perched on tower December 5th 2021 by Lisa Romero

We are happy to announce that the Three Bridges Eagle Cam will go live on December 15th. This fall, the nesting platform atop the transmission tower received some improvements from PSE&G. The perches were moved for a better camera view and replaced with wood to provide better perches for the adults and a second wooden perch was added along one of the sides. A foam baffle was added to the microphone to help buffer wind noise. These improvements will make the platform better for the eagles as well as enhance the viewing experience.

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Where’s Duke?

Friday, November 12th, 2021

By Barb McKee, New Jersey Eagle Project Volunteer

August 1, 2021. It is raining and dreary out. Indoors all day wrapping up my end-of-season raptor time/mileage sheets, I have cabin fever! Tracking Duke for the last nine months has been educational and fun, and right now I know that he is nearby. For the last week he has been perching along the Raritan river–very close to my home and adjacent to his natal home, Duke Farms in Hillsborough. I have been too busy to spend as much time as I would like hiking and biking along the river nearby, while playing “hide and seek” with Duke! I check the internet link for today’s confirmation. Sure enough, Duke is perched in a wide-open field on Duke Farms land that I know well. It is only 4 miles away so I get in the car and head over there. Because it is raining, my chances of spotting him might be pretty good since eagles prefer not to fly in the rain, but rather remain on their perches without moving. He might still be there! I anticipate success. There he is! Right where I thought he would be. In a small grouping of trees in the middle of this large field there is one dead tree front and center, and Duke, fortunately, is perched on the dead tree, easily seen from the road. The photos are shot from about 100 yards away, in a light rain, but it is still a thrill to see him as it has been exactly two months since I last saw him on June 1st. blog post (Playing Hide and Seek with an Eagle)

“Duke” August 1st, 2021 by Barb McKee

On August 2, I learned that Duke had flown from that Duke Farms field back to the Delaware River and to Tohickon Creek where he spent the first week in August. As the second week began, his transmitter skipped 2 consecutive days of downloading data, but and when it finally did download, he had flown back to Duke Farms! In the coming days he seemed restless. He did not hunker down in one area, but appeared to be revisiting all of his haunts and hang-outs in central Jersey from the last nine months. He even went back to Tewksbury, flew very close to his winter “restaurant”, the game fowl pens at Flint Hill Hunting Preserve, and did a huge circle over Bedminster! He checked out Round Valley, the Black/Lamington River, Eagle Bend on the North Branch, and explored that river from Far Hills all the way to route 22. Then on August 30, a travel day again, he flew back to the Delaware! Again his transmitter did not connect with the satellite on the last day in August, but when it finally did connect, it was clear that his restlessness continued.

During the torrential rains of hurricane Ida, Duke finally hunkered down in PA on Neshaminy creek west of Washington Crossing in a rural area of woods and fields. He remained there until Sept. 6 when he flew back to the Delaware River and perched right near my Bulls Island nest. That is where he was on Sept 7. Then….his transmitter skipped three days of downloading! Finally, on Sept. 10, 72 hours of data downloaded and it showed he had been back on Tohickon Creek. This is a wild stream in a wooded gorge. There are some roads and houses here and there, but it is mostly rural–a good place for a young eagle. There would be plenty of places to perch and roost, and fish and small animals in and by the river to eat. But then, after 3:03:08 pm Eastern Daylight Time on September 10, his transmitter went dark!

Duke_Hillsborough November 24, 2020 by Barb McKee


My adventures with Duke started exactly a year ago today! blog post (Duke’s Homecoming) I learned he can hold his own against competition for food, aggressively steal from lesser raptors, find small rodents, reptiles and other prey in the smallest of creeks and valleys, fly beautifully and roost safely during rain, wind and snow. I have watched him thrive as an independent eagle in the wild, and although I sometimes worried about his choice of perches and food sources, I believe he has a great chance of reaching maturity and, in about 2 years, with his head and tail feathers mostly white, find a territory he likes and a mate with whom to build a nest. I miss knowing where he has been and miss our games of hide and seek. It has been 57 days since his last data download. I trust from the information on the site that his solar battery has failed and that Duke himself has not failed! During the coming winter I will be searching all the places I know he preferred. I believe eagles are creatures of habit. As I watched him travel around, sometimes all the way to the Chesapeake and back, I am sure that he used his eagle eyes to spot landmarks which are his “road maps” when he travels. I have plenty of reason to believe that he will return to his favorite roosts and hang out and I will have my eyes open, still searching for him. My sincere hope is that I, or someone else, will someday catch a photo of him with his E/88 band easily readable!

In the meantime, soar safely Duke, fly high and free.

Coastal Barn Owl Project Update

Tuesday, November 9th, 2021

By Meghan Kolk, CWF Wildlife Biologist

The Coastal Barn Owl Project team is gearing up for another round of nest box installations in coastal southern New Jersey.  After a successful fundraising appeal, we can now thank our donors by adding more potential nesting opportunities for barn owls, a species in population decline. 

Our fourth and most recent box was just installed on October 22 in the saltmarshes of Cape May County.  With each install, the team is becoming more efficient, and we hope to get several more boxes up in key locations before early spring when the owls begin their search for suitable nesting sites. 

The newest barn owl nest box with volunteers Kevin Knutsen, Steve Eisenhauer and Mike Lanzone on left.  Team leaders Tricia Miller and Meghan Kolk on right.  Photo by Lisa Ferguson.