Conserve Wildlife Blog

Archive for the ‘Raptors’ Category

Eagles, Vultures and a Kitten

Wednesday, September 15th, 2021

By: CWF biologist Larissa Smith

This is the second year that the NJ Endangered & Nongame Species program along with the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ have set up a “soft release” area for juvenile eagles that were found grounded and cared for at Rehabilitation centers. The site is in a remote area of Cumberland County where staff and volunteers provide supplemental food (fish and road-killed mammals) in a safe place, and where other juvenile and sub-adult eagles would provide the social learning they needed. Trail cameras were installed to document eagle use. 

The site had attracted juveniles, sub-adults, and adult eagles on a regular basis, as well as black and turkey vultures on a daily basis. At the end of August a tiny kitten showed up on the game cam. The kitten was hanging out with the vultures, eating frozen bunker and road kill.

Other stray cats have shown up on the game cam before but this kitten was making regular appearances. When a volunteer dropped off frozen bunker the kitten came out to eat while the volunteer was still at the site.

photo by: John King

With the help of a local woman we trapped the kitten. The kitten is a female and she had to be feisty and tough to survive, but to my surprise she was also super sweet. She was covered in fleas, hundreds of tiny ticks and full of worms from eating road kill. She was just under 3lbs and 3 months old. We named her Maple and she was adopted by Eagle Project volunteers Sharon & Wade Wander. They report that she is doing well and is a playful and happy girl.

Maple in her new home September 8th, 2021

It is a miracle that she survived out there with all the predators, (she would have been an easy meal for an eagle) . Maple is a lucky kitten. Thanks to everyone who made it possible for Maple to go from being a wild cat to a pampered family member.


Part 7: Three Bridges Eagle Update

Monday, August 16th, 2021

by: Larissa Smith, CWF biologist

H/05 seen on the eagle cam after his release

This eagle nesting season we have been following the story of the Three Bridges eagle pair in a blog series. A camera on the nest allowed viewers to get an up-close view of the nesting activities. The pair successfully raised two chicks, who biologists banded (green bands H/04 & H/05), and they fledged the end of June.

On July 4th, eagle H/05, was found injured near the nest. He was taken to The Raptor Trust where he was treated for a fracture of the left coracoid bone, which supports powered flight in the wing. He remained in the care of The Raptor Trust until he was fully healed and had regained some of his flight strength.

Three Bridges nest monitors continued to observe the nest area and determined that the adults and H/04 were still around the nest platform. In a very quick and quiet manner, H/05 was released back at the nest site last past week. It was necessary to have adults in the area, so he can continue his post-fledging period with them, learning to hunt and survive on his own.

H/05, August 12, 2021@ Mary Ellen Hill

Since his release, H/05 has been seen flying and perching in the nest area. It is very important for people to view the nest platform from a distance and not approach the nest tower or any eagles perched in the area. We all need to keep this nest area “eagle-safe” for the next month, giving H/05 and his family time to reacquaint and re-learn eagle skills! We thank everyone who has supported this eagle family.

“Jersey Girl”: 2021 Update

Thursday, August 12th, 2021

by: Larissa Smith, biologist

“Jersey Girl” is a NJ banded eagle (B/64). She was reported to us in 2014 by Linda Oughton, who has been keeping track of her and her mate since 2010. They nest is in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. B/64 was banded in 2004 at a nest in Cumberland County NJ, located along the Cohansey River. ‘Jersey Girl” is seventeen years old.

“Jersey Girl” nest 2021 @ L. Oughton

Linda reports that for the past three seasons “Jersey Girl and her mate have nested at their third nest location. This nesting season they raised and fledged two young eagles. Since 2010 the pair has successfully raised and fledged a total of 17 young eagles. They have become local celebrities and many people look for them as they walk along the Perkiomen Trail.

“Jersey Girl” @ L. Oughton

Part 6: Three Bridges Eagles Fledge

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2021

by: Larissa Smith, CWF Wildlife Biologist

I started writing the Three Bridges blog series at the end of November 2020. At the time we had no idea if the eagle pair would return to the newly installed nest box, nest somewhere else or nest at all this season. In the last blog post Part 5, the eggs had hatched. Since that last blog a lot has happened at the nest. On April 2nd nest monitors determined that hatching was occurring and on April 14th it was determined that there were two chicks. On May 14th, the nest was visited by PSE&G and NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife, Endangered and Nongame Species Program. The chicks were banded with silver federal bands and green NJ bands H/04 and H/05. Both chicks were determined to be males. During the nest visit the camera was fixed and a whole new close up view of the nest appeared.

Three Bridges eagle cam; June 13th, 2021

Cam viewers got to watch the young eagles as they learned to feed themselves and started preparing their wing muscles for flight, by flapping and hopping around the nest. When eagles are nesting in a tree the young will perch on branches which is called “branching”. In this case the chicks don’t have any branches, so the perches were built as substitute branches. Nest monitor, Mary Ellen Hill, got the below screen shot of one of the chicks perched for the first time. The young eagles also used the metal arm of the pole for perching.

On June 20th, H/04 took his first flight and his brother H/05 followed on June 22, all of which was caught on camera. Eagle Project volunteer Diane Wilson Cook has made a webpage, Bald Eagles at Three Bridges with the video clips from these flights. The fledges have been returning to the nest platform since fledging. The parent’s are still bringing food to the nest for the young eagles as they will be in the nest area for the next few weeks as they learn to hunt and survive on their own.

H/04 June 21, 2021@ Tom Gunia

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Survival of the Fittest Falcons

Thursday, May 27th, 2021
Female falcon 02/AN. She originated from a coastal nest in Bass River in 2011. Here she was photographed at her nest in May 2020 at Sedge Island.

Just imagine having to defend your home from an invader who wants to steal your home and mate. All you have to protect yourself and home are your bare hands (or talons). You fought this same battle several years ago and staked your claim here. It was a hard won battle that could have been the end.

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