Conserve Wildlife Blog

Archive for the ‘Raptors’ Category

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.

Eagle Trax Update

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

by: CWF biologist, Larissa Smith

CWF along with the NJ ENSP are using NJ Eagle Trax to track, “Duke” a year and a half old eagle who was outfitted with a transmitter on May 25th 2019.

May 25, 2019. Duke with transmitter @Kathy Clark

The last update I wrote was on March 31st. and at that time Duke had headed up to his old nest site at Duke Farms and then flew back south to the Susquehanna. In April he ranged along the Susquehanna in Southern PA and the Chesapeake region in MD, he did make a quick trip up into PA and back to MD. Duke spent all of May along the Susquehanna River near the Cononwingo Dam.

On June 1st he made another big trip up to Duke Farms and his old nest site. On June 9th he started heading back south and spent the rest of the month along the Susquehanna River. He spent all of July and August along the southern section of the Susquehanna River.

The Conowingo Dam, just south of the PA/MD state line in Darlington MD, is a location that Duke has visited several times over the last few months. This is an area where eagles congregate during fall migration and the winter. It is a popular eagle viewing spot, so perhaps someone will be able to get a photo of Duke. He still has a few years left before he’ll set up his own territory and find a mate.

Three Vultures get a second chance

Monday, August 24th, 2020

by: Larissa Smith, CWF Biologist

Juvenile Black vulture at release@Kathy Clark

Three juvenile Black Vultures were released back into the wild at at site in Cumberland County.

This location is the site where several other juvenile eagles were released recently after recovering from various injuries. A feeding station has been set up and stocked every other day with fresh fish to supplement their diet until they are able to hunt on their own. Game cameras set up by ENSP, Kathy Clark show that both eagles and vultures have been visiting the site. One of the first juvenile eagles to be released and banded E/96, makes almost daily visits to the site.

Diane Nickerson Director of the Mercer County Wildlife Center was caring for three Black Vulture juveniles 3.5 to 4 months old, that were ready for release. It was decided to release them at the feeding station in Cumberland County where they could be around other vultures.

Black vulture nestlings at Mercer Co. Wildlife@ Diane Nickerson

Black vultures do not build nests, they lay their eggs in tree cavities, hollow logs, caves and on the floor of abandoned buildings. Two of the vulture nestlings had been removed from a barn during renovation and dumped in the woods. Luckily a neighbor found them and they arrived at Mercer County Wildlife Center on May 28, 2020. The third nestling came from the Raptor Trust in June.

Vultures are social, they roost, eat and soar in groups. The three juveniles needed to be released where there were other vultures. The nest cams at the feeding site showed that there were plenty of both Turkey and Black vultures, at the feeding site.

Juvenile Black vultures at release@ Kathy Clark

Thank you to Mercer County Wildlife Center and everyone who made this release possible, including the Eagle Project volunteers who have been dropping fish off at the feeding station.



Rescue of a Juvenile Bald Eagle

Wednesday, July 29th, 2020

Blog written by Eagle Project volunteer, Frank Budney

On June 15th, 2020 a juvenile Bald Eagle was rescued in a most unlikely location; on a major highway, located in an industrial area of Union County. At first glance stories like this usually have an unfortunate ending, considering the location, but the timely arrival of a local Police Officer on patrol saved the day.

This is only part of the story. The eagle in question was one of two nestlings that hatched from a nearby nest back on March 24. Its sibling fledged sometime in late May or early June while this individual remained on nest, branching next to it but never attempting to fly. By June 14, the juvenile in question was still perched next to the nest with no indication that it was about to fly until the following morning when it was rescued.

Juvenile eagle at nest site June 14th, the day before rescue@ Frank Budney
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Four Peregrine Falcon Chicks Banded in Union County

Friday, June 5th, 2020
Left: Adult falcon in flight. Right: Peregrine chick ready to be banded. Photos by Eric Sambol.

Peregrine falcons have nested atop the Union County Court House in downtown Elizabeth for many years. Each year, before the young birds fledge, scientists gather up the chicks and band their legs. 

The banding was a smaller than usual human affair this year to comply with social distancing and other health restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But it was a very active avian event with the adult falcons energetically dive bombing the biologists as they brought the eyases (young falcons) indoors for the banding.

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