Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘banding’

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.


Duke Farms “Alumni” C/94: Update

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016
 “Tiny” has another successful nesting season in Connecticut
 By: Larissa Smith: CWF Biologist

D/94 "Tiny" 6/3/2016@ Cyndi Pratt

C/94 “Tiny” keeps a watch over nest in CT; 6/3/2016@ C.Pratt Didan

In 20015 we were contacted by Cyndi Pratt Didan regarding a pair of nesting eagles she has been observing in CT about 150 miles from Duke Farms. She was able to get a reading of the green band on the male C/94. It turns out that C/94 is a Duke Farms eagle from the 2009 nesting season. In 2009 there were three chicks in the nest and all were male. C/94 was the youngest and considerable smaller in the beginning as he was a week younger than the oldest chick and got the nick name “Tiny”.

May 18, 2009, C/94 after banding with siblings @M.Valent

May 18, 2009, C/94 after banding with siblings @M.Valent

His mate is also a banded bird from Massachusetts banded on June 11th, 2008. The pair nested in 2014 fledged two chicks and fledged one chick in 2015.

Cyndi reports that the pair built a new nest seven miles away from their old nest. This nest is in a pine tree on an island in a Reservoir. This season they fledged two young birds.
We thank Cyndi for keeping us updated on this NJ bird. It’s always good to get news about one of “our” chicks.

"Tiny's" mate with one of the chicks 6/3/2016@ C.Didan Pratt

“Tiny” with one of the chicks 6/3/2016@ C.Didan Pratt

Creative Somerset County Science Teacher Wins EagleCam Lesson Plan Contest

Friday, May 27th, 2016
Manville School District science teacher Lauren Kurzius joined biologists to help band Duke Farms EagleCam chicks earlier this month

by Lindsay McNamara, Communications Manager

2016 Lesson Plan Winner Lauren Kurzius

2016 Lesson Plan Winner Lauren Kurzius

Manville School District science teacher Lauren Kurzius was recognized by Duke Farms and Conserve Wildlife Foundation for winning our EagleCam lesson plan contest earlier this month! Kurzius joined wildlife biologists to help band the new Duke Farms EagleCam chicks on Monday, May 9. The EagleCam lesson plan contest, jointly organized by Duke Farms and Conserve Wildlife Foundation, called upon educators to submit lesson plans incorporating the Duke Farms EagleCam into their classrooms.


Installed in 2008, the Duke Farms’ EagleCam has provided a streaming look into the daily lives of the eagle family for over 10 million viewers. Kurzius is working with the Duke Farms and Conserve Wildlife Foundation EagleCam team to expand the camera’s potential as an educational vehicle by including her lesson plan for use in classrooms across the country.


“Duke Farms is pleased once again to support dedicated New Jersey teachers that bring wildlife ecology into their classrooms. Lauren Kurzius’ winning lesson plan (“Birds of Prey – Who Done it?”) is a terrific introduction to predator-prey interactions, patterns among organisms, and ecosystem viability while allowing them to take on the role of student detective” explained Michael Catania, Duke Farms Executive Director. “Her participation in this year’s banding of the Duke eagle chicks was one of the highlights for our staff, and certainly a thrill for her students in Manville, New Jersey to watch.”


The EagleCam became a prominent teaching tool in Kurzius’ classroom in 2013. She had begun viewing the eagles in 2011 and recognized its potential for using it in the classroom immediately. Regarding the banding process, she says it was “priceless,” adding, “I connected with educators, scientists, and environmentalists. I get to share that with my current students and my future students. When you have new experiences, it leads to authentic teaching. Maybe my experience will inspire one of my students to follow a career path in science and that makes the banding all worth it.”

From left to right: David Wheeler, Lauren Kurzius, Duke Farms Programs and Community Garden Manager Tanya Sulikowski, Duke Farms Executive Director Michael Catania.

From left to right: David Wheeler, Lauren Kurzius, Duke Farms Programs and Community Garden Manager Tanya Sulikowski, Duke Farms Executive Director Michael Catania.

CWF’s David Wheeler stated that “by exploring science with creativity and a sense of wonder, Lauren Kurzius inspires her students to connect with the natural world around us. That personal connection reveals just how much people can strengthen the environment and benefit wildlife like bald eagles, which have made an awe-inspiring comeback. The Duke Farms webcam offers Lauren’s students and so many others the opportunity to intimately experience the lives of these magnificent creatures.”


We were thrilled at the enormous response received from teachers across the state, and will continue to offer the amazing opportunity to teachers in New Jersey! Congratulations, Lauren!


Learn More:


Lindsay McNamara is the Communications Manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

New Jersey Little Brown Bat Resighted!

Monday, December 7th, 2015

by Stephanie Feigin, Wildlife Ecologist

Little brown bats (c) Stephanie Feigin

Little brown bats (c) Stephanie Feigin

“Luci,” a little brown bat banded in July 2014 at 2008 Women & Wildlife Award Winner Barbara Brummer’s pond house (a New Jersey maternity site) was recently resighted!


Biologists doing a hibernaculum survey in New York State found Luci in a mine in one of New York’s largest little brown bat hibernaucula about 70 miles north from her summer roost site in New Jersey!


“She is spending the winter with 37,000 of her closest friends.” – Carl Herzog Wildlife Biologist, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Wildlife Diversity Unit

Banding Together: When the Shorebird Met the Biologist

Sunday, September 6th, 2015
Celebrating World Shorebirds Day, Sunday, September 6

by Lindsay McNamara, Communications Manager

Red Knot Photo by: Jan van der Kam

Red Knot Photo by: Jan van der Kam

As a bird nerd, I’d often look on enviously at photos of biologists posted online holding shorebirds in their “bander’s grip” – the bird’s head in between their index and middle finger, using their thumb and pinky to steady the bird, while allowing its feet to dangle freely.

I always wondered: I wish I could do that! Hold a bird in my hands. Yet I never once thought: Wait, how did the bird end up in their hands in the first place?

I certainly hadn’t thought biologists run all over the beach chasing after shorebirds like a farmer chasing chickens – I just never thought the process all the way through.

This past summer, I was fortunate enough to become part of that process and learned exactly how a shorebird ends up in a biologist’s bander’s grip. The system may surprise you, but the steps have been mastered over nineteen years of practice, each one with shorebird safety as the top priority.


Conserve Wildlife Foundation (CWF)’s Delaware Bay Shorebird Project celebrated its 19th year this summer. The team members, led by Drs. Larry Niles of CWF working with Amanda Dey of New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, are all extremely passionate about what they do and care deeply for the shorebirds they are studying and protecting.

I arrived at the team’s house on Reeds Beach, along the Delaware Bayshore, early in the morning. Dr. Niles was concerned about the wind and had scoped out the safest beach for the banding that day. Our group of scientists, volunteers, supporters, interns and staff caravanned to Villas and joined our partner, American Littoral Society, at the site. We all picked up large, colorful plastic tubs, which had cloth covers that fit securely over the top of the box. The cloth cover had a Velcro pocket. We were told that these boxes would help in the shorebird “catch” that day. Larry and Mandy gave us instructions for how the banding day would go, safety tips and background information on the Delaware Bay Shorebird Project. We all listened intently and couldn’t wait for the day to begin!

The team waiting with our bins. Photo by Lindsay McNamara

The team waiting with our bins. Photo by Lindsay McNamara.

Well, we waited a bit before the day truly started. Dr. Niles and his team had binoculars with them and sat down in the sand, watching the shorebirds from afar for about an hour and a half. We waited by the cars up near the houses along the beach. The reason for the long wait? Dr. Niles and his team were waiting for the perfect moment to fire the net over top of the shorebirds along the coastline.

Biologists rolling away the net to reveal more shorebirds. Photo by Lindsay McNamara.

Biologists rolling away the net to reveal more shorebirds. Photo by Lindsay McNamara.

Cannons with gun powder charges fire heavy projectiles that carry the net over the birds only at the perfect moment – when birds are catchable and none in danger. Luckily, it was not a “wet catch,” that day, as the net did not go into the water. As soon as the cannon was shot, we all spirited single file carrying our tubs down the beach, following the biologists. The biologists immediately knelt at the base of the net and started picking up birds and shouting their identification and passing them to us, as they went they rolled the net away to reveal more birds.

It was very exciting! The idea was to get the birds out from under the net and into our carrying boxes and sealed in with a Velcro flap, as fast as possible, for the safety of everyone involved.

Each bin became devoted to the same bird species, so if the first bird that was handed to us was a sanderling, we kept putting only sanderlings in our bin. Once we had several birds in our bin, our pace completely changed. We walked very slowly away from the net, keeping the bin level at all times, towards the path in the sand at the beginning of the beach, to make the journey as safe for the birds as possible. There, biologists had burlap “keeping cages” for the birds to wait in. Birds were also sorted by species into these cages.

When every bird was taken out from under the net, and sitting in their temporary burlap enclosure, we formed “circles.” Each circle was composed of about 6 volunteers led by a core banding team member. Once formed birds were handed to us and finally, I learned how to safely hold a shorebird in my very own bander’s grip!

My very own bander's grip! Lindsay McNamara holding a sanderling.

My very own bander’s grip! Lindsay McNamara holding a sanderling.

Each bird received a metal band with a federal identification number, and a green tag with a three letter code. One person in the circle put the band on the bird and passed the bird to the next person, who placed the green tag on each birds’ leg and glued them shut. A recorder took notes on the band number and tag letters. Next, the birds’ wingspan and other data points were measured by other members in the circle. Lastly, the bird was weighed before it was released. During my trip with the banding team, we caught a large number of sanderlings and a few ruddy turnstones, federally listed red knots, and semipalmated plovers.

Banding team supplies. Photo by Lindsay McNamara.

Banding team supplies. Photo by Lindsay McNamara.

Holding a shorebird in my bander’s grip was an amazing experience, but what I enjoyed most of all was taking part in the science of shorebird conservation. I placed the green tags on the shorebirds, which will tell other scientists who may recapture the birds that they once traveled to New Jersey. Our circle helped collect valuable data points, which will be combined with the data from the other years of the Shorebird Project, to assess the health of shorebird populations.

I wasn’t just holding a bird, I was helping the bird have a brighter future – and that is the best feeling any bird nerd can have.

Today is World Shorebirds Day! You can help shorebirds have a brighter future today by participating in the Global Counting Day Program. Join the hundreds of participants at over 93 locations that will count shorebirds and share their sightings online. Register today!


Learn more:


Lindsay McNamara is the Communications Manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.