Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘eagle’

Found! Duke’s Tracker Reboots

Wednesday, December 29th, 2021

by Barbara McKee, NJ Eagle Project Volunteer

“Duke” December 19th, 2021 by Barb McKee

A year ago November I began tracking Duke. I was fortunate to see and photograph him more than a dozen times and wrote two blogs for CWF about these adventures. 

See “Duke’s Homecoming” and “Playing Hide and Seek with an Eagle”.

(more…)

Where’s Duke?

Friday, November 12th, 2021

By Barb McKee, New Jersey Eagle Project Volunteer

August 1, 2021. It is raining and dreary out. Indoors all day wrapping up my end-of-season raptor time/mileage sheets, I have cabin fever! Tracking Duke for the last nine months has been educational and fun, and right now I know that he is nearby. For the last week he has been perching along the Raritan river–very close to my home and adjacent to his natal home, Duke Farms in Hillsborough. I have been too busy to spend as much time as I would like hiking and biking along the river nearby, while playing “hide and seek” with Duke! I check the internet link for today’s confirmation. Sure enough, Duke is perched in a wide-open field on Duke Farms land that I know well. It is only 4 miles away so I get in the car and head over there. Because it is raining, my chances of spotting him might be pretty good since eagles prefer not to fly in the rain, but rather remain on their perches without moving. He might still be there! I anticipate success. There he is! Right where I thought he would be. In a small grouping of trees in the middle of this large field there is one dead tree front and center, and Duke, fortunately, is perched on the dead tree, easily seen from the road. The photos are shot from about 100 yards away, in a light rain, but it is still a thrill to see him as it has been exactly two months since I last saw him on June 1st. blog post (Playing Hide and Seek with an Eagle)

“Duke” August 1st, 2021 by Barb McKee

On August 2, I learned that Duke had flown from that Duke Farms field back to the Delaware River and to Tohickon Creek where he spent the first week in August. As the second week began, his transmitter skipped 2 consecutive days of downloading data, but and when it finally did download, he had flown back to Duke Farms! In the coming days he seemed restless. He did not hunker down in one area, but appeared to be revisiting all of his haunts and hang-outs in central Jersey from the last nine months. He even went back to Tewksbury, flew very close to his winter “restaurant”, the game fowl pens at Flint Hill Hunting Preserve, and did a huge circle over Bedminster! He checked out Round Valley, the Black/Lamington River, Eagle Bend on the North Branch, and explored that river from Far Hills all the way to route 22. Then on August 30, a travel day again, he flew back to the Delaware! Again his transmitter did not connect with the satellite on the last day in August, but when it finally did connect, it was clear that his restlessness continued.

During the torrential rains of hurricane Ida, Duke finally hunkered down in PA on Neshaminy creek west of Washington Crossing in a rural area of woods and fields. He remained there until Sept. 6 when he flew back to the Delaware River and perched right near my Bulls Island nest. That is where he was on Sept 7. Then….his transmitter skipped three days of downloading! Finally, on Sept. 10, 72 hours of data downloaded and it showed he had been back on Tohickon Creek. This is a wild stream in a wooded gorge. There are some roads and houses here and there, but it is mostly rural–a good place for a young eagle. There would be plenty of places to perch and roost, and fish and small animals in and by the river to eat. But then, after 3:03:08 pm Eastern Daylight Time on September 10, his transmitter went dark!

Duke_Hillsborough November 24, 2020 by Barb McKee


My adventures with Duke started exactly a year ago today! blog post (Duke’s Homecoming) I learned he can hold his own against competition for food, aggressively steal from lesser raptors, find small rodents, reptiles and other prey in the smallest of creeks and valleys, fly beautifully and roost safely during rain, wind and snow. I have watched him thrive as an independent eagle in the wild, and although I sometimes worried about his choice of perches and food sources, I believe he has a great chance of reaching maturity and, in about 2 years, with his head and tail feathers mostly white, find a territory he likes and a mate with whom to build a nest. I miss knowing where he has been and miss our games of hide and seek. It has been 57 days since his last data download. I trust from the information on the site that his solar battery has failed and that Duke himself has not failed! During the coming winter I will be searching all the places I know he preferred. I believe eagles are creatures of habit. As I watched him travel around, sometimes all the way to the Chesapeake and back, I am sure that he used his eagle eyes to spot landmarks which are his “road maps” when he travels. I have plenty of reason to believe that he will return to his favorite roosts and hang out and I will have my eyes open, still searching for him. My sincere hope is that I, or someone else, will someday catch a photo of him with his E/88 band easily readable!

In the meantime, soar safely Duke, fly high and free.

Part 1: An Eagle Nest Removed

Monday, November 23rd, 2020

by Larissa Smith, CWF Biologist

April 21, 2020, Three Bridges adult with 2 chicks@ Daniel Kroon

The following was written by NJ Eagle Project volunteer, Daniel Kroon. He monitors this nest along with several other dedicated volunteers whose photos are featured in this blog.

The Three Bridges (Hunterdon County) eagle nest is located on the top arm of an electric transmission tower. This pair has successfully nested on the tower for the past five years. This line of towers is scheduled to be replaced with new monopoles and the work on it has recently begun. PSE&G is cooperating with the NJ Bald Eagle program to move this nest to a new pole platform. Unfortunately, the pair is already on territory and have been observed bringing a stick to the old nest. It is an interesting story of how these eagles are adapting to the human-created environment and how we are trying to accommodate them.

The pair at nest October 17, 2020 before work begins @ Mary Ellen Hill

On November 4, PSE&G removed the top of the tower, keeping the nest intact, and lowered it to the ground where they carefully removed the nest from the tower structure. The nest is stored in a shed and will be re-installed on a platform affixed to the new tower when it is erected. We hope the eagle pair accept their remodeled home.

The evening of the nest removal, volunteer Mary Ellen Hill observed the pair sitting together on the adjacent tower.

November 4th, 2020 @ Mary Ellen Hill
November 4th, 2020, pair on adjacent tower after nest removal@ Mary Ellen Hill

We will follow up with part two of this story once the new monopole tower is installed and the nest is placed back up on the platform. We thank all the nest monitors, PSE&G and everyone involved to make this as successful as possible.

Eagle Trax Update

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

by: Larissa Smith

Duke returns to his nest site

We have been following “Duke” on NJ Eagle Trax, since he fledged from the Duke Farms nest on June 15th, 2019. He spent January in the Chesapeake Bay region. February and March he was ranging around northern MD and southern PA. On March 21st he made a big move up to NJ and was very close to his old nest. The points show him at Bradley Gardens at 4:42pm and the next point, to the southwest, at 4:59. We don’t know where he was between those two points but was certainly close enough to pass over his old nest. He spent the night at Round Valley Reservoir and the headed south on March 22nd.

“Dukes” movements on March 21st, 2020.

Oran: Alive and Well

(more…)

New Jersey Bald Eagles Soar to New Highs in 2019

Monday, September 9th, 2019
January 13, 2019, Mercer County Park. NJ D/99banded at Duke Farms in 2014 @Bob Cook

Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ in partnership with the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Endangered & Nongame Species Program, is releasing results of the 2019 NJ Bald Eagle nesting season.

2019 was a record year for NJ eagles with the highest number of active nests and young fledged in the history of the project.  This year, 238 eagle nests were monitored, of which 189 were active (laid eggs) and 248 young fledged.  This is the highest number of fledges ever, surpassing the previous high of 216 in 2016.

Bald eagle nesting population and young produced in New Jersey, 1982-2019.

We owe the incredible amount of information about NJ eagle success to the NJ Eagle Project nest watchers.  An extremely dedicated group of approximately 85 volunteers monitor nests during the season, recording the important dates and watching for possible issues at nest sites.

This season two eagle cams were available to watch on the CWF website:  one at Duke Farms and another at Mercer County Parks.  The Duke Farms nest produced two chicks, and one was outfitted with a satellite transmitter; the movements of this eagle are on CWF’s Eagletrax website . 

More details on the 2019 nesting season will be available in the annual eagle report to be posted by December.  The report will include individual nest data, state totals, and eagle recoveries and resightings.

CWF partners with PSEG, the Mercer County Park Commission, Mercer County Wildlife Center, and Wildlife Center Friends and Duke Farms to protect bald eagles in New Jersey. Thank you to the Wakefern Food Corp./ShopRite Markets, Wells Fargo, Chemours and the American Eagle Foundation for additional eagle program funding.