Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘bald eagle’

Successful Nesting Season for “Jersey Girl”

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015
New Jersey Banded Bird and Mate Raise Three Chicks in Pennsylvania

By: Larissa Smith, Wildlife Biologist

We have been following the story of “Jersey Girl,” a New Jersey banded bird, who nests in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. This was her fourth season at this nesting location. In 2014, the pair lost two chicks due to a severe winter storm, so it was good news when nest observer Linda Oughton reported that the pair raised and fledged three chicks during the 2015 season. Two weeks after the chicks fledged, the nest collapsed due to wind and rain. So, we will have to wait and see if they rebuild in the same nest tree or move to a new location next season.

Linda sent some photos from the 2015 nesting season.
@L. Oughton

Notice the small intruder in front of the nest Photo: L. Oughton

Linda reports that she has seen fish, squirrels, Canada geese, rabbits, turtle, chickens, and a ground hog brought to the nest.@L. Oughton

Linda reports that she has seen fish, squirrels, Canada geese, rabbits, turtle, chickens, and a ground hog brought to the nest. Photo: L. Oughton

@L. Oughton

Photo: L. Oughton

Learn more:


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


CWF Biologists and Volunteers Rescue Three Eagle Chicks

Monday, June 1st, 2015
Biologists and Volunteers come to the Rescue of Three “Downed” Eagle Chicks

By: Larissa Smith, Wildlife Biologist/Volunteer Manager

On Saturday the 23rd, I received a call from Eagle Project volunteers Donna and Heiki Poolake. One of the nests that they monitor in Natural Lands Trust’s Glades Wildlife Refuge in Cumberland County had partially fallen and Heiki found all three chicks on the ground, thankfully alive. ENSP Principal Biologist Kathy Clark met them out at the nest site and determined that all three looked uninjured but were weak from lack of food and water. The two smallest were especially docile so the decision was made to take them to Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research in Delaware for a check up and to get needed fluids and food. The largest and strongest bird was given water and fish, and set on a leaning tree (off the ground) in the hope that it would hop up on branches where the adults, still watching from above, would continue to feed it.


The next day we pulled together a crew to install a nest platform for the remaining eaglet. We carried the pre-built nest platform (designed for ospreys) into the marsh, installed it and built a nest of branches and grass, and added perches to make it more roomy for an eagle. We found the eaglet back on the ground, sitting on the remains of the fallen nest. We caught the bird again, banded and took measurements that confirmed this was a female about 9 weeks of age. She gladly ate pieces of fish offered to her as well as some more water. We placed her up in her new “nest,” along with several fish, and she looked quite happy to be off the ground and back up in a nest.

Chick in fallen nest on ground @ Heiki Poolake

Chick in fallen nest on ground @ Heiki Poolake

Re-nested eagle chick in platform nest @ K. Clark

Re-nested eagle nestling in platform nest Photo by: K. Clark

In the meantime, the two eaglets at Tri-State were deemed healthy and ready to return to their parents. The challenge was how to return these two without disturbing their sibling now living in a nest platform built for smaller ospreys. The solution: a second nest platform. This second one was improved by CWF’s Ben Wurst by enlarging the size and adding branches as railings for perching. For a second time, a work crew assembled to use the early morning tide, and we boated the new platform out to within 200 yards of the first. The platform went up, a stick-and-grass nest quickly built, and the eaglets were brought out.


The eaglets, a 9 week old male and a 7.5 week old female, were kept covered until they got settled. When the chicks were uncovered, one of the adults started calling and flew in and perched on a snag within viewing distance. We quickly left and monitored them from a distance. One adult was perched near the platform with one eaglet, and before we left had flown in and perched near the new platform. Kathy went out the next day and reported that all three chicks were fine and using the perches and branches.

Re-nested chicks in second platform@ K. Clark

Re-nested eaglets in second platform Photo by: K. Clark

eagle chicks in new nest@K. Clark

Eagle nestlings in new nest Photo by: K. Clark

We’d like to thank the following people for their help: Dr. Erica Miller (NJDFW); Todd Vasquez (NJDFW Law Enforcement); Eagle Project volunteers Donna & Heiki Poolake and Matt Tribulski; Steve Eisenhauer (Natural Lands Trust) and local landowners, the Watermans.

Learn more:

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

Photos From the Field: Pilesgrove Eagle Nest Six Years Later

Thursday, April 30th, 2015
A Look at the Pilesgrove Eagles Nest Over Time (2009-2015)

By:Larissa Smith, Wildlife Biologist and Volunteer Manager

New Jersey Bald Eagle Project Volunteers Jeffrey and Cathy White have been monitoring the Pilesgrove eagle nest since the pair’s first nesting season in 2009. The pair has successfully raised and fledged 9 young for the past six years. This season the pair has two chicks which are currently six weeks old. Jeffrey took a photo of the nest on April 19, 2015. He then went back through his photos and found one that he taken on the same date April 19, 2009 in their first nesting season. This comparison really shows just how large eagle nests can get after years of use.

Pilesgrove nest 4/19/2009@J. White

Pilesgrove nest 4/19/2009 Photo by: J. White


Pilesgrove nest 4/19/2015@J. White

Pilesgrove nest 4/19/2015 Photo by: J. White

Learn more:

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

New Jersey Banded Eagle “Jersey Girl” Makes the News

Thursday, April 9th, 2015
Update on New Jersey eagle nesting in Pennsylvania

By: Larissa Smith, Wildlife Biologist/Volunteer Manager

B/64 "Jersey Girl" 3/27/15@L. Oughton

B/64 “Jersey Girl” 3/27/15@L. Oughton

Back in June of 2014, I wrote a blog when Conserve Wildlife Foundation was contacted by Linda Oughton regarding a New Jersey banded bird nesting in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. The female referred to as “Jersey Girl” recently made the news in The Reporter.


One correction, the article states that B/64 is from Northern New Jersey, she was actually banded in southern New Jersey, Cumberland County in 2004.


The Pennsylvania pair started incubating on February 14th, 2015 and hatching occurred the weekend of March 21st, 2015. It has been confirmed that the pair has two chicks this season.


Learn more:


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

Photos from the Field: Bald Eagle Aerial Survey

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015
Never Say “No” When You’re Asked to Participate in an Aerial Survey

By: Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

I always feel lucky when my feet leave the ground, by ladder and especially by helicopter. Last week, I joined Kathy Clark, Supervisory Zoologist with the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program to conduct a short aerial survey of several bald eagle nests over southern New Jersey. The day started by driving to Coyle Field, which is managed by the NJ Forest Fire Service.


I met with pilot John Whimberg and we flew south to Woodbine to pick up Kathy. From there we proceeded south towards the Delaware Bay. We were searching for existing nests to determine if they are active or not and if they had young. Most of these nests were not accessible to the Bald Eagle Project volunteers who watch nests during the nesting season. Here is a summary of what we found:


  • 13 nests checked (searched for an additional 3 nests around Heislerville).
  • We documented 3 chicks in 1 nest, and 2 chicks in 3 nests. (chick ages in the 3 to 4 week range).
  • Six nests had adults sitting close (on eggs or possibly hatchlings).
  • Three nests already failed.


Kathy believes that the failure rate may be a bit higher this year because of the extreme cold weather we had in February, which is when most birds are incubating or have hatchlings. Overall the eagle population has done quite well in recent years, so if there is any reduction in productivity it should not affect the long term trend in the growth of their population.


One of the most amazing things that anyone flying above the ground in New Jersey can see is how much forested land we still have. Many bald eagles nest very close to people and near water. Preserving this habitat is essential to the long term sustainability of the bald eagle population in New Jersey.


We are lucky to have in-kind support from the NJ Forest Fire Service who donated their time and equipment for us to complete this important survey. We thank them for their support of the Bald Eagle Project!

A bird sitting tight means that it is still incubating.

A bird sitting tight means that it is still incubating.

Two young can be seen in this nest!

Two young can be seen in this nest!

How many young can you spot in this nest?

How many young can you spot in this nest?

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