Conserve Wildlife Blog

Archive for the ‘Raptors’ Category

A New Jersey First: Hawk Raised by Eagles

Tuesday, August 16th, 2022

By: Susan Harrison, NJ Bald Eagle Project Volunteer

I am a volunteer eagle nest monitor for New Jersey’s Bald Eagle Project. A new nest was discovered in central New Jersey this year by birder Chris Brown. Larissa Smith, the volunteer coordinator for the Bald Eagle Project and Conserve Wildlife Foundation asked me to monitor this nest. I did not know at the beginning of nesting season, what an interesting story would unfold!
In mid-April, by watching the behavior of the adult eagles, I could see that eggs had hatched and that the adults were feeding eaglets that were still too small to see. At the beginning of May I caught glimpses of the head of one eaglet peeking up over the top of the nest rails. Too cute! By the end of May, I could see the head of a second chick in the nest. But this chick looked very different! I soon discovered this chick looked different because it was not a Bald Eagle at all! It was a red-tailed hawk chick in the eagles’ nest! I could not believe what I was seeing! I took lots of photos to document this situation, a first for New Jersey! I consulted with two respected birders in the state, Chris Brown, who is a county eBird reviewer and Tim Brown, to help verify and document my observations for CWF and the NJ DEP/ENSP. We observed the adult eagles feeding both the red-tailed hawk chick and the bald eagle chick. It was one big happy family, with both chicks getting along with each other and with the adults quite well.

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Thank You Cathy and Jeff White for Helping New Jersey’s Eagles Thrive.

Thursday, August 4th, 2022

by Larissa Smith, CWF Biologist

New Jersey Eagle Project nest monitors Cathy and Jeff White have been volunteering with the program since 2009. The 2022 eagle nesting season was officially their last as they will be “retiring.” When they started with the bald eagle project, they had two eagle nests that they monitored in Southern New Jersey. As of 2022 they were monitoring 25 eagle nests. That is a lot of nests to keep straight! During their 14 years of observing nesting behavior to determine egg laying, hatching, and fledging, a total of 244 eagle chicks fledged from their nests. The Whites have witnessed the eagle population grow over the years and have played a large role in the success of the eagles, including many rescues of both chicks and adults. Their dedication to the eagles through both the good and bad outcomes, is commendable and they are irreplaceable.

They have done so much for the eagle project and will be greatly missed. Thank you!

Photos taken by the Whites throughout their years of monitoring eagle nests.

Photos from the 2022 Eagle Nesting Season

Monday, July 11th, 2022

By: Larissa Smith, CWF Wildlife Biologist

I asked the Eagle Project volunteers to send me their one favorite photo from the 2022 eagle nesting season. Enjoy the eagle nesting season through the eyes of the nest monitors. (click on the photos to enlarge and view details)

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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