Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘bald eagle project’

Happy National Bald Eagle Day!

Thursday, June 20th, 2019

Story by: Alison Levine

Photo From Mercer County Parks

Eagle enthusiasts in New Jersey have plenty to celebrate today on National Bald Eagle Day. Thanks to our dedicated Bald Eagle Project volunteers we know that so far this year 96 bald eagles have fledged from their New Jersey nests! Eagles have come a long way in the Garden State since the early 1980s when there was only one active nest in the whole state.

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Bald Eagle Banding and Transmitter Attachment at Duke Farms

Sunday, June 2nd, 2019

Two bald eaglets at the site of our Eagle Cam at Duke Farms were recently banded by biologists from Conserve Wildlife Foundation (CWF) and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Endangered and Nongame Species Program (NJDEP ENSP).

This year’s banding was special, as in addition to a band the male eaglet was also fitted with a transmitter which will allow him to be tracked on our Eagle Trax page.

View of transmitter on the male eaglet, on the right

Kathy Clark, (NJDEP ENSP), and Larissa Smith (CWF) wrote about the experience, and the benefits of transmitters on the Duke Farms blog. Their FAQ’s are reprinted below.

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A Tribute to Elmer Clegg, Eagle Project Volunteer

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016
Loyal Eagle Project Volunteer Contributes to Conservation for over Two Decades

by Dr. Larry Niles, LJ Niles Associates LLC

Dr. Erica Miller and Elmer Clegg.

Dr. Erica Miller and Elmer Clegg.

In the early days of the Bald Eagle project, when we really didn’t know whether the species could be restored back to New Jersey, there were a few people that offered their help without reservation to help the birds. Elmer Clegg and his wife Bunny were two and among the most dedicated. Elmer died May 20th at 79 years old. He was a loyal eagle volunteer for more than two decades.

 

To understand Elmer and Bunny’s contribution its important to remember the circumstances in which the eagles found themselves. The historic population of eagles, about 22 in 1950 but probably much higher in history, had been whittled down to just one unproductive pair by 1981. Biologists at the newly formed Endangered Species Program, including me, worked hard to restore the Delaware Bayshore population with new projects, like hacking young birds into the wild. By the early 2000’s, we had new nests but in places that had not known eagles for decades. In many places they were unwelcome because they thwarted sprawl development or short sighted resource use. They had to be defended, but then we couldn’t afford staff.

Dr. Erica Miller and Elmer and Bunny Clegg.

Dr. Erica Miller and Elmer and Bunny Clegg.

Into that breach stood Elmer and Bunny and others like them, John and Sheryl Healy and Red and Mary Jane Horner. They were stalwart defenders of wildlife that brooked no insult to the birds by watching the nest throughout the nesting period until the young birds fledged. It was rewarding but difficult work trying to persuade farmers, businessmen, irate suburbanites and many others that the eagles deserved to be where they were. A few times our conservation officers had to step in, or DEP had to drop the regulatory hammer, but mostly it was the calm persuasion of people, like Elmer, who’s true love for these birds spoke convincingly to those against the bird.

 

Elmer helped me understand that the future of wildlife doesn’t lie in the agencies or their staff, but in the hearts of people who care for wildlife. People like Elmer deserve to return to this earth as the species they loved so much.

 

Dr. Larry Niles has led conservation efforts for over 30 years.

Bald Eagles Make a Comeback

Monday, May 16th, 2016
Reflections on the Eagles of Atlantic County, New Jersey

by Larissa Smith, Wildlife Biologist/Volunteer Manager

Photo of Nacote on 4/8/2016 by Kelly Hunt.

Photo of Nacote on 4/8/2016 by Kelly Hunt.

It’s always a wonderful sight to see a bald eagle soaring up in the sky or perched in a tree. Today, if you live in South Jersey, the chances of seeing an eagle are pretty good. When I first began working with the New Jersey Bald Eagle Project in 2000, there were 25 nesting eagle pairs in New Jersey. Today, the State Endangered and Nongame Species Program along with Conserve Wildlife Foundation are monitoring over 160 pairs throughout the state! Needless to say, the eagle population is doing very well due to the recovery efforts and the team of dedicated New Jersey Eagle Project volunteers and supporters.

 

Today, there are seven known nesting pairs of eagles in Atlantic County. The longest residing pair in Atlantic County is the Galloway pair. Since 1996, the pair has raised and fledged a total of 29 chicks. During that time, the pair has moved their nest twice and the adults in the pair have most likely changed. Though eagles do mate for life, when one in the pair is injured or killed another is waiting to take it’s place. Jack Connor is one of our dedicated eagle project volunteers and has been monitoring the Galloway pair since they were first discovered in 1996. He has an intimate knowledge of this pair since he is out monitoring them every week during the nesting season. He has experienced the joy of seeing a chick(s) in the nest and the thrill of getting to hold one of those chicks at a banding. But he’s also had disappointment when a nest fails, which can happen during incubation or after hatching. In 2009, the nest collapsed and the two chicks didn’t survive. He has witnessed the determination of these birds to come back year after year.

 

In 2014, the chick at the Galloway nest was outfitted with a transmitter. This allows us to follow his movements after leaving the nest. The bird named ‘Nacote’ has been to Canada and back. He is now in Atlantic County and was spotted at Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in April. Eagles reach sexual maturity at five years of age, so he has a few more years until he’ll start nesting. To follow Nacote’s movements, visit our website.

 

Learn More:

 

Larissa Smith is the Wildlife Biologist/Volunteer Manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

 

Track the Bald Eagle’s Triumphant Return to New Jersey

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016
Updated Story Map Showcases Bald Eagle Nest Locations from 1985-2015

by Brian Henderson, GIS Specialist

Photo by Northside Jim

Photo by Northside Jim

Our story map The Return of Bald Eagles in New Jersey has been updated based on the 2015 Bald Eagle Project Report. The story map shows the locations of every eagle nest known to be active (meaning they laid eggs) in New Jersey since 1985  — the year when there was only a single nest in the entire state. The map presents an animated depiction of where eagles have nested each year, so you can track the bald eagle’s triumphant return to the Garden State! Viewing the animation shows you how eagle nests spread from a single point in Cumberland County across all of New Jersey through the years.

 

The story map also highlights a number of Feature Nests which include more detailed information about the projects underway at specific nests, such as the Duke Farm nest which has been featured on our EagleCam since 2008.

 

The number of nesting pairs of bald eagles has steadily increased each year. This trend continued in 2015 with a record 150 active pairs, which was a slight increase over 146 such pairs recorded in 2014. In 2015, there were 122 nests that successfully  fledged at least one young compared to 115 successful nests in 2014 and the 199 total young fledged in 2015 was only slightly less than the record 201 young fledged in 2014.

 

Learn More:

 

Brian Henderson is the GIS Specialist for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

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