Conserve Wildlife Blog

Archive for the ‘Volunteer Programs’ Category

A Kestrel Story

Friday, August 26th, 2022

Diane Cook, CWF volunteer

As a volunteer for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ and NJ’s Wildlife Conservation Corps I monitor bald eagle, osprey, and kestrel nests for the state. Kestrel monitoring is new to me this year. They are North
America’s smallest falcon. I enjoy watching them hunt, hovering over the grasslands
and open fields. Monitors watch and record milestones of the nesting season. Fledge
Day is the end of our season and what we hope to witness.
Friday – I knew the chicks would be fledging soon, and hoped I had not missed it. I sat in
my vehicle and watched for just over 3 hours! I could hear noise from inside the box as
wings were being flapped and exercised. For the longest time, I thought one had
already fledged since I was just seeing one perched in the box opening.

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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)

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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