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Posts Tagged ‘bald eagle’

Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey “2014 Annual Report” Released

Friday, March 27th, 2015

CWF Releases its First Annual Report Ever Using a Story Map Format: “2014 Annual Report

By David Wheeler, Executive Director

Technology has proven to be vital to Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s work protecting rare wildlife species over the years. Our biologists depend greatly on modern technologies to band, track, and share online the journeys of wildlife. Our webcams broadcast the most intimate behaviors of nesting birds and bats across the web. And we seek out ever-evolving communications technologies to spread the word about the inspiring stories of wildlife, from social media and infographs to e-books and Story Maps. These technologies offer newfound abilities to share complex data on multiple levels, while still incorporating the awe-inspiring photography and videos that bring wildlife’s stories to life.

Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey is excited to offer our 2014 Annual Report in a unique format that utilizes one of those technologies – Story Maps. In the past year, we have explored the wonders of American oystercatchers with our first Story Map – and now the annual report allows all of our projects to be highlighted in this interactive format.

A screen capture of one of the pages of the CWF 2014 Annual Report Story Map.

A screen capture of one of the pages of the CWF 2014 Annual Report Story Map.

Visit the multiple pages within this Story Map to learn about Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s many projects and partnerships in 2014, and the imperiled wildlife species in need of our help. Find examples of the innovative and dedicated leadership of our biologists and volunteers. And take an online journey across the state to learn how our projects made a difference in all corners of New Jersey in 2014 – a great year for wildlife in the Garden State!


 

Battling bald eagles land in tree

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015
Locals residents and wildlife enthusiasts partner to save lone survivor!

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

A lesson I’ve learned in my short career working with endangered wildlife in New Jersey is that you always need to be prepared for the unexpected. You never know what tomorrow brings.

There is never too much gear you can have at your disposal. Luckily, for the surviving bald eagle that was rescued, local residents made it possible. (more…)

New Jersey Eagle Project Volunteers: Priceless

Friday, January 30th, 2015

January 2015 is the Month of the Eagle! CWF is kicking off the new year by celebrating all things eagle. Follow us on social media and be sure to check your email (sign up for our list) for weekly stories on these amazing raptors from our own eagle biologist Larissa Smith. Larissa, a wildlife biologist who has been working for Conserve Wildlife Foundation since 2000, coordinates the New Jersey Bald Eagle Monitoring Project.

By: Larissa Smith, Wildlife Biologist and Volunteer Manager


During the Month of the Eagle, we have thanked the dedicated Bald Eagle Project volunteers, the backbone of the New Jersey Eagle Project.

 

Our volunteers get an incredible, intimate look into the lives of eagle pairs. Read their stories:

 

My best eagle memory comes from May 15, 1996 — my second visit to the first eagle nest I ever monitored. Eric Stiles had called a week earlier to tell me a nest had been found in Smithville and asked if I’d like to become involved in the project. I said “Of course!” and we arranged to get together the next day.

Back then there were only about a dozen nest sites known in the state and he wanted me to keep secret the locale and everything I observed. We drove his truck into the woods out of sight, then walked in through a white cedar forest, whispering as we got close. “It’s two young birds,” he told me, “in a small nest, probably a red-tailed nest they pirated.” Both had flecks of black and brown in the feathering on their heads, especially the male, whose head and tail showed lots of brown. “They may be too young to breed this year,” he explained. “It may be just a housekeeping year.”

“Brownie” flew off soon after we arrived; his mate sat in her pine tree for the full half-hour we watched, looking over-sized for her nest. “We need to keep disturbance to a minimum,” Eric told me as we left. “You shouldn’t come back here more than once a week.”One week later, when I returned to the hiding place in the cedars, I could see the female in the nest with my bins. I unfurled my tripod as quietly as I could, focused my scope — and my heart leaped: a fuzzy blue-gray chick with big black eyes was looking back at me! Soon after, his mother stood up and called into the sky. “Brownie” was coming back.

He landed in the nest, and after more screaming, let his mate take the fish he’d carried in. She carefully pulled it apart, feeding tiny bits to the chick and the larger pieces to herself. I had never seen eagles in action at a nest and was thoroughly enchanted – but there was another surprise to come. As the female turned in the nest ripping at the fish, something flashed. I focused the scope again and saw first a silver band gleaming on one leg and next a green band on the other. She was a New Jersey bird — hatched herself probably in 1991 or 1992, from one of the handful of nests in the state in those years. That was a sweet thrill!

That was the start of a long relationship between “Brownie,” “Greenie,” and me – and the eagles that have come along in the two decades since (the nest has moved two times over those years). I am very grateful to Eric Stiles for involving me originally and to Larissa Smith, Kathy Clark, Larry Niles and all the many hard-working, dedicated folks who have allowed me to participate in this wonderful project. Thanks largely to them, our state now has an order of magnitude more nests than we had in 1996: 150+! Wow!
– Jack Connor

 

Karin Buynie monitors the Crosswicks Creek nest @ Kevin Buynie

Karin Buynie monitors the Crosswicks Creek nest @ Kevin Buynie

We have a lot of good memories through the years of eagle volunteering. None that stand out more than just being able to talk to the many people that stumble upon you trying to figure out what all the gear is for and then seeing the surprise on their face when you tell them you are watching a bald eagle pair raise their young. Being able to pass on all the knowledge you learned from our many conversations with the biologist is very fulfilling. It is nice to see people walk away knowing how far our nation’s symbol has rebounded in our state. We have been able to help 16 eaglets fledge in our seven years of volunteering.
– Kevin & Karin Buynie

 

My best memory was to see the eagle stand up in the nest and the egg pop out.

–Ed Sheppard

 

Last year was my first year monitoring an eagle’s nest. I guess the best experience was watching the pair behavior, moving sticks around on the nest and then seeing them mating, which was interrupted when an immature eagle came flying by. It was pretty cool.
– Karyn Cichocki

 

Lake Barnegat@Paul Lenzo

Lake Barnegat@Paul Lenzo

My best local sighting was in March of 2009 on Lake Barnegat in Forked River. From the road, as I was driving home, I saw an eagle attacking a cormorant and pulled over. After numerous attempts in the air and on the water, the eagle finally killed the cormorant. After watching for about 15 minute., I drove home to get my cameras (about a ten minute round trip), hoping the eagle would still be there when I returned. To my surprise when I returned a pair of birds was feeding on and fighting over the carcass.                            
– Paul Lenzo

 

My most awesome experience was participating in the banding of a young male bald eagle chick from the Supawna Meadows nest. How awesome to actually hold the chick while blood was drawn and measurements taken. I will never forget that great experience.
– Cheryl Leonard

Donna Poolake monitoring a nest

Donna Poolake monitoring nest

“Busy day at Turkey Point: Upon arrival, one adult was in the nest housekeeping and three juveniles were in a snag about 100 feet to the right of the nest. We think these are most likely last year’s fledglings since the adult was not concerned they were so close. There was an adult that flew over the nest towards open water and out of sight. There were another four juveniles in the trees to the right of the meadow across the creek. Across the street from the crabbing business were six more juveniles perched in the trees.

Another adult flew to the nest and perched just above it. Then it jumped to a different branch in the nest tree. That’s when the adult that was housekeeping in the nest jumped up and bit the tail of the adult that just approached and was perched above the nest. Fluffy feathers floated down from that adult while he flew away towards where the three juveniles were perched and landed in a snag. The housekeeping adult that had just gone after tail feathers flew to the same snag as the adult she just “bit” and perched about 10 feet above him.

All of this caused the three juveniles that were perched there to fly off. So, she was telling him to get home and help while the three youngsters said ‘We’re out of here!'”   

This is from several years ago at Turkey Point. We were observing a nest with three chicks in it that were about six weeks old. An adult was perched on a snag not far from the nest. We suddenly got a good view of a chick and noticed that he was much larger than the others. Then we realized this was not a chick but most likely a fledgling from last year. Mom was not too upset but once the fledgling started to eat the fish that was in the nest she flew over, landed in the nest, and chased the juvenile away. It seems she didn’t mind him visiting but he better go get his own meals. The chicks didn’t seem to mind the visitor but became much more active after he left!
– Donna & Heiki Poolake

 

I was astonished to see a pair of eagles take over an osprey nest in the rear of my home several years ago. This is what started me in the eagle program. The eagles did not stay long as the red-tailed hawks and osprey were too annoying. I then started to observe nest in Brick, New Jersey and let Kim Korth know whatever I saw. One day Kim called me and asked if I would like to go and be part of a eagle banding project. I was overjoyed to go. The banding took place in Brick, New Jersey on a private piece of property. I held an eagle for about 15 minutes and it was one of the best things I have ever experenced in my entire life. To actually hold an eagle. WOW!                            
– Richard Gauer

 

Is it the thrill of the first sighting of that fuzzy little head? Is it the beauty of that majestic bird soaring above with a blue background? Maybe it’s the anticipation of a first sighting of another species? Or the beauty of the area where you are doing your observation, the breath-taking sight of thousands of Snow Geese that perhaps land near-by? For us, it is all of these things and the knowledge we have gained observing these magnificent birds (and all the information Larissa has imparted to us, bless her). We feel it has been an honor to have taken part in the program and we hope to be able to continue for years to come.
– Clare Luisi & Anne Stiles

 

Two adult eagles were perched over the waterway near their nest. But this time instead of both being on a relatively high perch, one was perched on a branch just a few feet from the water. The water level was low and the area beneath the eagle was mucky. The eagle on the low branch was studying the mucky water below. Then it floated off the branch by just opening its wings and dropping down like a parachute into the muck. It flew up from the muck with a turtle in its beak! Then as it lifted hire into the air, it banked around past us and we watched it transfer the turtle from its beak to its talon in mid flight. We are so used to seeing eagles drop their talons into the water to pick up fish, that this eagle’s retrieval of a turtle with its beak was really surprising and wonderful to watch.
— Bonnie Hart & Ted Henning

 

Learn more about Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s Bald Eagle Project.

 

 

 

Green Bands: Telling the Story of New Jersey Eagles

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

January 2015 is the Month of the Eagle! CWF is kicking off the new year by celebrating all things eagle. Follow us on social media and be sure to check your email (sign up for our list) for weekly stories on these amazing raptors from our own eagle biologist Larissa Smith. Larissa, a wildlife biologist who has been working for Conserve Wildlife Foundation since 2000, coordinates the New Jersey Bald Eagle Monitoring Project.

By: Larissa Smith, Wildlife Biologist and Volunteer Manager


During the Month of the Eagle, we have discussed at length the use of telemetry to see the daily movements of eagles in the state. Another method that biologists use to obtain information on New Jersey eagles is from Re-Sighting New Jersey Eagles. Biologists look for the bands on the re-sighted eagles to find out the age of the bird and the nest that it came from.

 

In June 2014, we learned about a banded New Jersey Eagle Nesting in PA. Unfortunately, the pair lost its chicks during a wind storm last April. I recently contacted Linda Oughton, the nest observer, and she reports that the pair has been busy bringing sticks to the nest in preparation for the upcoming nesting season. We wish “Jersey Girl” and her mate a successful year!

 

NJ  eagle bands (green) and federal eagle bands (silver)

NJ eagle bands (green) and federal eagle bands (silver)

Biologists also obtain information about New Jersey eagles from bands when eagles are recovered injured or dead. This isn’t as “feel good” as the re-sighting of a living, healthy bird, but the band still contains valuable information about the eagle’s age and the nest from which it originated.

 

If you find a bird with a New Jersey band, please report it to the National Bird Banding Lab.

 

The Banding Lab notifies New Jersey biologists when a band has been reported. The majority of recovered New Jersey birds are found in our state, but Jersey banded eagles have also been recovered in Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania and Maine.  Each band that is found tells a story about the eagles life.

 

  • On April, 26, 2013, a female eagle was found dead at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. She was banded with a red band which revealed that she was one of the eagles from the Dividing Creek Hack site* in 1988, making her 25 years old when she died. The nest observer at the Aberdeen believes that this was the female she observed nesting at Aberdeen for 20 years. At the time of the eagle’s death, there were three chicks in the nest and the male was able to successfully raise them by himself. She is the oldest New Jersey banded eagle that has been recovered.
  • In the fall of 2013, the remains of an eagle with a red band were found in the Nantuxent Wildlife Management Area. The bird was 24 years old. The eagle had been brought along with another eaglet from Canada after their nest was lost. They were placed in the Tuckahoe Hack site* and fledged in 1989.

    *The New Jersey eagle hacking project was started in 1983 as a part of the eagle restoration efforts.  Young eagles approximately six weeks of age were brought from Canada where the eagle population was stable. Hacking towers were built at two sites, Dividing Creek, Cumberland County and Tuckahoe, Cape May County. The chicks were placed in the towers and provided food until the time of fledging. The idea was that the birds, when mature, would return to their place of fledging to nest. These hacked eagles were banded with a red band. Sixty young birds were fledged from these hacking towers over an eight year period contributing to the increase in the New Jersey eagle population.

  •  A thirteen year old eagle was recovered in November of 2011 in Delaware, the cause of death was determined to be lead poisoning. The bird had been banded on May 14, 1999 in Cumberland County. What makes this eagle so special is that in 2003 the same bird was found in Cape May County with a leg hold trap attached to its foot. The foot was amputated and the bird was released. It is amazing to know that this eagle survived for eight years with just one foot!
  • The Duke Farms Eagle Cam is has gained a large online following, so it was sad news when one of the juveniles from the 2014 nest was found dead in Maine this past August.  From talking with the finders of the bird we were able to piece together the story of D-98.

These are just a few examples of the recoveries of dead eagles, but there are also many injured eagles that are cared for by dedicated wildlife rehabilitators and released back into the wild.

C/45 in recovery at Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research, DE

C/45 in recovery at Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research, DE

A New Jersey banded eagle was rescued from the Chesapeake Bay by a fisherman from Cecil County, Maryland on March 17th, 2013. The male had been banded at the Union Lake nest, Cumberland County on May 15, 2007 making him six years old.

 

The eagle was taken to Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research in Delaware where he recovered from his injuries, believe to be from a territorial dispute with another eagle, and was released on May 6, 2013.

 

All eagle recoveries are listed in each years annual eagle report.

 

Learn more:

 

 

Soaring High: A Month Long Celebration of the Eagle’s All-American Comeback

Friday, January 9th, 2015

Happy New Year from Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey! January 2015 is the Month of the Eagle! CWF is kicking off the new year by celebrating all things eagle. Follow us on social media and be sure to check your email (sign up for our list) for weekly stories on these amazing raptors from our own eagle biologist Larissa Smith. Larissa, a wildlife biologist who has been working for Conserve Wildlife Foundation since 2000, coordinates the New Jersey Bald Eagle Monitoring Project. This month, she will involve 80 volunteers in the monitoring of 175 territorial eagle pairs in New Jersey!

By: Larissa Smith, Wildlife Biologist and Volunteer Manager

Shark River eagle pair preparing nest @ Tom McKelvey

Shark River eagle pair preparing nest @ Tom McKelvey

 

Why is January the Month of the Eagle? Besides the fact that eagles are an awesome way to start out the new year, now is the best time of year to see eagles in New Jersey, and it’s the month when New Jersey bald eagles start laying their eggs.

 

The New Jersey bald eagle population is increasing every year. 2014 was a record setting nesting season with 156 eagle nests being monitored! One hundred forty-six of these were active (with eggs) and ten were territorial or housekeeping pairs. In 2014, New Jersey nesting eagles broke the 200 mark and produced 201 young! The 2014 NJ Bald Eagle Project Report has more details on the 2014 nesting season.

 

During the months of January and February, not only are New Jersey’s nesting eagles around but wintering eagles are also in the area. Eagle pairs are busy preparing their nests for the 2015 nesting season. The majority of eagles begin incubation in February, but a handful do start in January. Last year, the first New Jersey pair began incubating on January 12th.  In January and February, birds from more northern states come down to New Jersey where the winters are milder. The Delaware Bay and River are rarely frozen solid, allowing birds to continue finding food during the winter months.

 

The two counties in New Jersey with the largest number of eagle nests are Cumberland and Salem, so these are good areas to spot wintering eagles. Mannington Meadows in Salem County is a hot spot for eagle viewing, Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Atlantic County and the Delaware Water Gap in northern New Jersey. This time of year you could spot an eagle in any county in New Jersey!

3rd year eagle @ Kristen Nicholas.  Immature eagles plumage is variable before reaching adult hood

3rd year eagle @ Kristen Nicholas. Immature eagles plumage is variable before reaching adult hood

 

Don’t forget when eagle watching, eagles don’t have a full white head and white tail until around five years of age when they are mature. In their first four years, they can be a bit trickier to spot since their feather coloration is varied at different age stages. Please remember to respect the eagles when viewing them. Eagles are very sensitive to human disturbance during the nesting season, keep your distance from eagle nests and perched eagles. For more information on being a good eagle watcher see our brochure “Bald Eagles Nesting in New Jersey.”

 

Duke Farm eagle pair work on their nest December 30, 2014

Duke Farm eagle pair work on their nest December 30, 2014

Even if you’re not able to get out to see an eagle, you can watch them from the comfort of your home. Conserve Wildlife Foundation partners with Duke Farms to broadcast a live Eagle Cam.  This gives everyone the opportunity to see a pair of New Jersey eagles raise their young and learn about eagle behavior. There is also an interactive page where Eagle Cam viewers can post comments, observations and ask questions.

 

As you can see, January is a busy month for New Jersey eagles!  We’ll keep you updated as the month progresses and detail some of our current projects such as using telemetry to track eagles. Stay tuned for more Month of the Eagle posts!

 

 

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