Conserve Wildlife Blog

Archive for the ‘Raptors’ Category

Union County Falcons Thrive in Urban Ecosystem

Wednesday, June 8th, 2022

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Kathy Clark carefully places a young falcon in a reusable shopping bag.

On May 23, NJDEP Fish & Wildlife Supervisory Zoologist Kathy Clark and myself visited the Union County Courthouse in Elizabeth, NJ to band the three eyases that were produced by the nesting pair of peregrine falcons. We were joined by Union County staff and guests, who assisted with the banding. The nest is located on the roof of the building. As soon as the hatch made a sound, the adults took off and started to defend their nest and flightless young. As we enter their turf, we are dive bombed by the adults — it is clear that the female has become more aggressive — as she flies very close to us on the roof in sweeping dive bomb attacks. As Kathy goes to the nest to grab each young who are placed in reusable shopping bags, I use her trusty feather duster to ward off the adult female. All who enter the roof wear fall arrest harnesses and hard hats. Kathy and I know that the hard hats are not just worn for fall protection, but also from attacks from above. Both of us received bumps from the adult female to our helmets!

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Empty Nest Syndrome: NJ Eagle Chicks Fledge

Monday, June 6th, 2022

by: Larissa Smith, CWF biologist

Clinton nest, nine week old chick stretching it’s wings: photo by Linda Rapacki
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Three healthy peregrine falcon eyases in Elizabeth!

Saturday, May 7th, 2022

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Another season of growth and new life is here! As many species are beginning their annual life cycle to reproduce, some peregrine falcon pairs already have young. The eyases (young falcons) at the Union County Falcon Cam are a prime example. They are now a little over a week old and have been examined and treated for a pigeon borne disease, called trichomoniasis, which adult falcons can transfer to their young. If young falcons would get trich., then they could perish. Kathy Clark, NJDEP Fish & Wildlife Supervisory Zoologist, UC staff and colleague Cathy Malok, w/ The Raptor Trust visited the site to ensure the survival of this brood.

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Great Horned Owlets Get Some Help

Sunday, April 3rd, 2022

by: Larissa Smith, Wildlife Biologist

We received a call about a homeowner who found two great horned owlets on the ground. They had fallen out of a nest located in a pine tree in her backyard. The female owl was still sitting in the nest with one chick. Great horned owls use the vacant nests of other bird species and this nest was too small for three growing chicks. At this age the young owls are defenseless from predators, plus a rain/wind storm was predicted for that evening. The plan was to keep the owlets overnight in safe location and renest them the next day.

We met Ray Byrant, with Tri-State Rescue & Research, raptor renesting team at the nest site. Due to crowding the owlets would end up on the ground again if placed back in the nest. A basket serving as a substitute nest was secured in a nearby tree that was sturdier than the nest tree. The two nests are close enough that the adults can go back and forth between nests caring for the young. The female owl watched us closely the entire time and the owlets were “clicking” with their bills, so she knew they were there.

The homeowner will keep an eye on the nests to make sure the owlets remain in them until they start to branch. She reports that the adult has been at the basket nest several time since the renest. Thank you to the homeowner for calling to report these owlets, Vicki Schmidt, Matt Tribulski, Ray Byrant and Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research. It takes a team.

An Eagle and a Biologist: 22 Years in Common

Monday, March 7th, 2022

by Larissa Smith, CWF Biologist

Duke Farms male A/59; March 4th, 2022

As I write this there are two fluffy little chicks in the Duke Farms nest. They will have an audience of millions of eagle cam viewers watching them as they grow and fledge. As the adult eagles step around the nest, look closely and you will notice that one of them is banded. The male is A/59 and he is twenty-two years old. Twenty-two years ago I began my career with the Conserve Wildlife Foundation working with the New Jersey Eagle Project. In March 2000, A/59 hatched in a nest located in Greenwich, Cumberland County. When he was two weeks of age, he was fostered into a nest along the Rancocas River in Burlington County. The Rancocas pair had failed to produce their own young for a few years and fostering a healthy chick into the nest would help to keep the pairs fidelity to the nest site.

On May 15, 2000, he was banded and a radio transmitter was attached with a harness which was designed to eventually fall off. A/59 fledged on June 3 and was tracked until the transmitter’s signal was last recorded on October 22. You can read more details about the telemetry in the 2000 Bald Eagle Report.

February 7, 2022

In 2000, when he hatched and I started working with eagles there were 25 nesting pairs of eagles that fledged 29 young. Compare that to last year’s numbers of 247 pairs we monitored and 296 young fledged. As the number of eagles increases in New Jersey so does the competition for nest sites. A/59 has been able to defend and hold onto his territory at Duke Farms since 2009.

It’s very interesting to know the history of this eagle. I feel a bond with him since we both started our “eagle” journey at the same time.