Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Duke Farms’

When An Eagle Nest Fails

Monday, April 2nd, 2018

Guest Blogger, Diane Cook: NJ Eagle Project Volunteer & Duke Farms nest monitor

Nature can be awe inspiring and beautiful. Watching a powerful bald eagle gently offer food to a newly hatched chick is amazing. Cheering awkward chicks walking on wobbly legs, and holding your breath when they take that first flight are the events live cam viewers look forward to year after year.

Duke Farms nest-2016

We are reminded of the harsh realities of nature too. Nest fails can and do happen. Many things can go wrong: storms, predators in the nest, or conflicts with other eagles and territorial disputes. Watching it happen live, can be heartbreaking. Every event is a learning experience for us all.

There is a sad ending this year at the Duke Farms nest. It was hard to see the adult pair defending their nest from younger interlopers again. Harder still was actually witnessing the failure of both eggs. Hatching is a complicated business. We’ve been fortunate to have many years of success. As watchers, we must take the good with the bad. This is nature after all.

So what do we do now? My love of nature and the bald eagle will have me seeking out other live cams, but missing my local wild family. I will remember the successes of past years. I will stare in amazement as I look up into the sky to watch a bald eagle soaring overhead.

Duke Farms- 2016

Life will go on. The cycle will continue, if not in “my” nest, in another. Nature will find its balance.  Thank you to Duke Farms and Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ for bringing us the live cam. Thank you to the state biologists who work every day to preserve and protect the wildlife in our state. 

See you next year for a new eagle nesting season.


Duke Farms Eagles-Waiting For The Hatch

Friday, March 16th, 2018

Has it Begun?

Guest Blogger, Diane Cook: NJ Eagle Project Volunteer & Duke Farms nest monitor

Egg 1 was laid on February 14th this year. Bald Eagle eggs are incubated for about 35 days. That means the first hatch could be next week, Wednesday, March 21st! What are the signs hatching has begun? As an observer for many years, viewing the live cam has taught me much. These are some behaviors I’ve seen in the past to alert me that hatching will soon begin or is already underway.

Believe it or not, the adult and chick can “talk” to each other through the shell. Watch for the adults to stand over the eggs with their heads bent closer to them. You may even see movement of the adult’s bill, as it “chirps” to its chick inside the egg.

If food begins to show up in the nest, the adults could be preparing for another mouth to feed. They are stocking the “pantry”.

Restless adults, with lots of moving around on the nest, or more frequent egg rolls, is another sign to watch carefully. When you get a clear view of the eggs, look for a tiny hole or a spider web-like cracking. This first hole in the shell is called a pip, and is made by the chick. The chicks do all the work!

Pips can be difficult to spot with protective adults blocking the view. You may wonder if you are looking at a spot of dirt or piece of grass on the egg or a real pip. Trust your eyes and keep watching, that pip will increase in size. This is exhausting and hard work for a little one. The complete hatching process can sometimes takes a day or two.

It is amazing to watch the progress once the first pip has appeared. Get ready for the most eggciting time of year for eagle watchers!


NJ.com Video: Duke Farms Eagle Cam highlights bald eagles’ recovery

Friday, March 2nd, 2018

by David Wheeler

NJ.com reporter Alexis Johnson at Duke Farms in Hillsborough

Conserve Wildlife Foundation has long partnered on the famed Eagle Cam at Duke Farms in Hillsborough, which has thrilled over 13 million viewers since it started.

In this video, NJ.com reporter Alexis Johnson covers the state’s longest running Eagle Cam with an interview with Duke Farms Executive Director Michael Catania.

Bald eagles have nested at Duke Farms since 2005. Currently the pair has laid two eggs in this nest, with the first egg laid on Valentines Day this year.

From just a single nest remaining in the state in the late 1970s and early 1980s, bald eagles have recovered to over 170 nests, thanks largely to scientists and volunteers from the New Jersey Endangered and Nongame Species Program and Conserve Wildlife Foundation.

You can watch the NJ.com video here.

The Duke Farms Eagle Cam can be found here, and author Jim Wright’s e-book “Duke Farms’ Bald Eagles” provides some fascinating additional information about this nest.

CWF’s Bald Eagle webpage and annual Bald Eagle report details the story of bald eagles in New Jersey, with a number of other helpful links.

Duke Farms’ Tanya Sulikowski Honored for her Conservation Education

Monday, November 21st, 2016

By Mara Cige

Tanya Sulikowski, 2016 Education Award Winner

Tanya Sulikowski, 2016 Education Award Winner

We had the pleasure of interviewing our 2016 Women & Wildlife Education honoree, Tanya Sulikowski, and are pleased to share some excerpts below.

As a Program Manager at Duke Farms, 2016 Women & Wildlife Education Award Winner Tanya Sulikowski works tirelessly to connect New Jersey’s people and wildlife. A champion in environmental education, she hosts hands-on creative projects that include bird banding and monitoring, as well as rain gardens and barrels just to name a few. However, Ms. Sulikowski considers her creation of the Teen Action and Leadership Opportunities for Nature program to be her greatest professional achievement because it inspires urban students to make lifestyle changes that incorporate their newly discovered love of nature. Her reach has extended statewide through her various roles within the Alliance for NJ Environmental Educators, where she currently serves as Vice President. (more…)

Kids are Back in School – but Their Summer Wildlife Lessons Endure!

Thursday, September 29th, 2016
Conserve Wildlife Foundation brought three conservation-themed summer learning experiences to the New Jersey coast.

By: Kendall Miller

I went back to “camp” this summer, seeing schoolkids learn first-hand about wildlife and what biologists do. CWF offered three summer learning experiences for the first time, each with a different theme, content, and location.

Observing the kids’ excitement and enthusiasm for nature was uplifting, and I was also impressed with how knowledgeable they all were. Offering hands-on opportunities – to learn about wildlife while experiencing these habitats – is so important in fostering an appreciation in the younger generations.

“Education is a major goal of CWF’s mission. Through project-based, experiential learning, we hope that camps like these leave impressions with children,” said CWF Director of Education Stephanie DAlessio, who developed the new program. “While we are out having fun, we are also learning about the importance of protecting and preserving wildlife and their habitats in New Jersey.”

This summer was a great start, and CWF is excited for the years to come!

Bayshore Adventure at Leonardo Marina
Seining, special wildlife guests and sandcastles along the Raritan Bayshore!

Located in the harbor, across from Sandy Hook, noisy terns and gulls fight over their catches as kids arrive in the morning to spend the part of their day learning about the bayshore environment. Sunny, sand-filled learning about marine and coastal wildlife and habitats, seining for coastal creatures, mini-science activities and special guests were balanced with a healthy dose of wiffleball games and sandcastle-building contests.

Kids met biologist and beach nesting bird manager Todd Pover. He talked about - of course - the piping plover, and issues with conserving threatened and endangered beach nesting birds.

Kids met biologist and beach nesting bird manager Todd Pover. He talked about – of course – the piping plover, and issues with conserving threatened and endangered beach nesting birds.

NJ State Park police officer Karl Mott and K9 Kelly, a police dog who finds lost cellphones, wallets, and even people. Campers were able to see her in action and participate in hiding drills.

NJ State Park police officer Karl Mott and K9 Kelly, a police dog who finds lost cellphones, wallets, and even people. Campers were able to see her in action and participate in hiding drills.

Wildlife Explorer Program at Duke Farms
Raptors, art and orchids on a North Jersey nature oasis!

Set in the lovely Duke Farms in Hillsborough, every day of this week-long camp was a new and exciting experience featuring different types of wildlife! Kids spent time exploring the grounds at Duke, played games and explored their creativity through art projects alongside famed artist James Fiorentino, met real life biologists and best of all – got up close and personal with all kinds of raptors (like the red-tailed hawk below), amphibians and reptiles. These memorable experiences will hopefully cement in their minds the importance of being stewards to their environment.

Campers explored the Orchid Range and saw a collection of plants from all over the world.

Campers explored the Orchid Range and saw a collection of plants from all over the world.

Bill Streeter of Delaware Valley Raptor Center visited to talk about amazing birds of prey, bringing with him their resident educational birds. Campers sat in awe of these raptors like this red-tailed hawk.

Bill Streeter of Delaware Valley Raptor Center visited to talk about amazing birds of prey, bringing with him their resident educational birds. Campers sat in awe of these raptors like this red-tailed hawk.

Beach.Birds.Biology
A day afield with a beach nesting birds biologist!

Shorebird biologists know the importance of educating people about the plight of beach nesting birds in New Jersey, who rely on the beaches that people flock to in the summertime. So on three different occasions, parents signed their kids up to spend a day on the beach learning about these birds with CWF biologist, Emily Heiser – like the piping plover, American oystercatcher, black skimmer and least tern. Kids got to practice being wildlife biologists. They used spotting scopes to read tags on decoy birds and searched for camouflaged eggs in the sand. The day was also filled with games, beach scavenger hunts, and a fun poster drawing project to be put on display.

Campers spot some plovers and oystercatchers feeding in vernal pools along the inlet at Barnegat Light.

Campers spot some plovers and oystercatchers feeding in vernal pools along the inlet at Barnegat Light.

After learning about the plight of beach nesting birds, the kids got creative by drawing signs to be posted near nesting and feeding sites.

After learning about the plight of beach nesting birds, the kids got creative by drawing signs to be posted near nesting and feeding sites.


For more information about these educational programs, please visit our website at www.ConserveWildlifeNJ.org , or contact our  Director of Education Stephanie DAlessio at (609) 292-9451.


Kendall Miller is a Program Coordinator at Conserve Wildlife Foundation.

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