Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘bald eagle’

New Jersey Bald Eagle “Nacote” Sighted at Forsythe NWR

Thursday, April 14th, 2016
Tracking Young Bald Eagle “Nacote” throughout the Garden State

by Larissa Smith, wildlife biologist

Nacote 4/8/2016@Kelly Hunt

Nacote 4/8/2016 Photo by Kelly Hunt

On April 8th, Kelly Hunt was photographing four bald eagles at Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), two adult birds and two immature birds. When she got home and looked at the photos she realized that one of the young birds was banded and had a transmitter. It was “Nacote” back in his home area. “Nacote” was banded and outfitted with a transmitter on May 6, 2014 at the Galloway nest. Since then we have been tracking his movements on the CWF website. These photos give a great look at what the plumage of a bald eagle going into its third year looks like. You’ll also notice that the eyes and bill haven’t yet turned yellow.

Nacote 4/8/2016@Kelly Hunt

Nacote 4/8/2016 Photo by Kelly Hunt


Forsythe NWF@ Kelly Hunt

Forsythe NWF Photo by Kelly Hunt


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Larissa Smith is a wildlife biologist 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.

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.

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