Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘tracking’

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.

Tracking NJ Eagles: Update

Friday, August 5th, 2016

Larissa Smith: CWF Wildlife Biologist

Since the spring of 2014 CWF and the NJ Endangered and Nongame Spieces Program have been tracking a transmittered eagle named “Nacote”, D/95. He fledged from the Galloway nest (Atlantic County) in the summer of 2014 and made a trip up to Canada, he returned to NJ in Mid-October of 2014 and has been in southern NJ ever since, spending most of his time in Cape May and Atlantic Counties. He spend some time in April near his nest of origin at Forsythe NWF  where he was photographed.

D/95 "Nacote" at Tuckahoe Lake 7/21/16@ Kathy Clark

D/95 “Nacote” at Tuckahoe Lake 7/21/16@ Kathy Clark

In the past few weeks he has been in Upper Cape May County spending time at the county landfill and he even made an appearance at  Tuckahoe Lake behind our office. NJ ENSP biologist, Kathy Clark was able to get a photo of him perched by the lake.

Another eagle we are tracking “Oran”, fledged from the Egg Island nest, Cumberland County along the Delaware Bay in the summer of 2015.  In Mid-November he headed south and spent the winter down in the Chesapeake Bay area and returned to southern NJ in the spring 2016. “Oran” spent most of his time ranging around Cumberland County until making a bold move north in Mid-July. He flew to Maine in two days and then north into Canada, south of Quebec City.  He has been out of range and the last signal received was July 18th when he was at the Maine/Canadian Border.

 


New Jersey Wildlife Telemetry Study Tracks Bald Eagles on Journeys Across Hemisphere

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

January 2015 is the Month of the Eagle! CWF is kicking off the new year by celebrating all things eagle. Follow us on social media and be sure to check your email (sign up for our list) for weekly stories on these amazing raptors from our own eagle biologist Larissa Smith. Larissa, a wildlife biologist who has been working for Conserve Wildlife Foundation since 2000, coordinates the New Jersey Bald Eagle Monitoring Project.

Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey releases results of 2014 State Bald Eagle Report

By: Lindsay McNamara, Communications Coordinator

Photo Credit: Chris Davidson

Photo Credit: Chris Davidson

Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey (CWF) today released the 2014 Bald Eagle Report, highlighting the number of nesting pairs, active nests and nest productivity for the raptors throughout New Jersey with data collected by New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Fish and Wildlife biologists, CWFNJ biologists and dedicated volunteers.

 

Two young bald eagles were fitted with GPS tracking devices (wearable backpacks) in Summer 2014 to conduct a telemetry study to better understand raptor behavior. View the complete Bald Eagle Project Report online. ENSP biologists chose one eagle from Atlantic County (a male nicknamed “Nacote”) and one from Cumberland County (a female nicknamed “Millville”) to be tagged in this telemetry study.

 

Nacote was in Canada until mid-October when he started heading south. He visited Six Flags Great Adventure in December and for the past two weeks, he has been residing in northeast Atlantic County, especially Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. Millville ventured out to Delaware Bay marshes in late July and back in early August. In mid-September, she crossed the Delaware River into Delaware and then spent most of September along the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland before crossing over to Virginia.

 

“Tracking these young eagles is giving us insight into where the birds go once they fledge and the type of habitat they are using,” explained Conserve Wildlife Foundation Wildlife Biologist and Volunteer Manager Larissa Smith. “Unfortunately, we recently learned that the female was found dead in Delaware. The first year of life is tough for young eagles as they learn to survive on their own.”

 

2014 Eagle Report

The federal government removed the bald eagle from its list of Endangered Species in August of 2007, but the bald eagle’s official New Jersey status remains state-endangered for the breeding season and state-threatened for the non-breeding season. The Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program (ENSP) bald eagle recovery efforts, implemented in the early 1980’s, have resulted in a steady recovery of New Jersey’s bald eagle population. ENSP biologists, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey staff, and volunteer observers continue to locate and monitor bald eagle nests and territories each year to analyze the state of the population.

 

2014 Report Highlights

  • The population of wintering bald eagles has grown along with the nesting population, especially in the last ten years. This growth reflects increasing populations in NJ and the northeast, as each state’s recovery efforts continue to pay off for eagles.
  • This season, 25 new eagle pairs were found.
  • The statewide population increased to 156 pairs (including nesting and territorial) in 2014, up from 148 in 2013.
  • A total of 156 nest sites were monitored during the nesting season, of which 146 were documented to be active (with eggs), up from 119 last year.
  • One hundred fifteen nests (79%) of the 145 known-outcome nests produced 201 young, for a productivity rate of 1.39 young per active and known-outcome nest.
  • The Delaware Bay region remained the state’s eagle stronghold, with 43% of all nests located in Cumberland and Salem counties.
  • 2014 marked the first year of successful eagle nesting in the Palisades Interstate Park in perhaps 100 years.

 

The telemetry study, in tandem with the most recent annual eagle report, has been illuminating.

 

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to follow these juvenile bald eagles on their forays far from New Jersey,” said David Wheeler, Conserve Wildlife Foundation Executive Director. “With the eagles choosing to fly in completely different directions, it’s a reminder on how much we still have to learn about these fascinating creatures. Yet what is not in doubt is the bald eagle’s continuing recovery from the brink of extinction – thanks largely to the dedicated scientists leading the way.”

 

For maps of the movements of Nacote, updated regularly, visit our Eagle Project page.

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