Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Union County’

Union County News: Spot the New Falcon in Town on the Falcon Cam

Saturday, March 16th, 2019

Story by: Union County Office of Public Information

Union County’s free Falcon Cam captures the view inside the nest of two peregrine falcons on the roof of the County Courthouse Tower in midtown Elizabeth. This screenshot shows bonding behavior as the newly installed female (left) and the male get acquainted and prepare to start a family. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Union County

As the courtship season begins for peregrine falcons, residents of all ages and visitors from all over the world can observe and study one of the fastest animals on earth by tuning in to the Union County Falcon Cam. “The Falcon Cam is a great opportunity for residents of all ages to experience and learn about peregrine falcons up close,” said Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski. “This season we have a new female falcon, who has taken over the territory on the roof of the Union County Court House.”

Union County’s falcon preservation efforts have been undertaken with the generous assistance of the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife and Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey. Conserve Wildlife Foundation is Union County’s official partner for educational programming related to falcons and the Falcon Cam.

Photo From the Field: Feisty Female Falcon

Friday, June 1st, 2018
One Might Ask, Aren’t all Falcons Feisty?

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Earlier this week we visited two urban falcon eyries to band young for future tracking. Both bandings were streamed live on our Facebook page. Here at the Elizabeth eyrie, BD/73 showed us who rules the roost! We have a feeling that we’ll be seeing her again sometime in the future!

Falcon Comeback Continues in Union County

Wednesday, May 9th, 2018

By Jasmine Lee, CWF Education Assistant

Spring has sprung, and peregrine falcon eggs have hatched! Viewers of our Union County Falcon Cam have enjoyed an exciting few days with the last of the four eyasses (baby falcons) emerging yesterday.

The adult female falcon 91/BA (“Cadence”) originally hails from Rochester, New York. She staked her claim on this nest last year and laid eggs very late last season, but the eyasses did not survive. This year, 91/BA got a timely start, with her first egg being laid on March 29, 2018. Incubation of her clutch of four eggs began on April 3.

While peregrine falcon feathers provide excellent insulation, it can be difficult for body heat to get past the feathers and to the eggs. An adaptation for this is the brood patch on the male’s and female’s chest. This patch has a high concentration of blood vessels close to the surface of their skin to allow for easier and better body heat transfer to the eggs.

After about 32 days, it is time for hatching to begin. The chicks begin by using a small “egg tooth” to peck a hole through the egg shell: this is called the external pip. After breaking the membrane, the chick can breathe some fresh air, and vigorously start the final process of hatching.

Around 8 AM on Saturday, May 5, the first eyas at Union County emerged! As we watch over the next few weeks, we will see a lot of activity in the nest as the parents work hard to feed the hungry chicks. The eyasses are completely dependent upon the adults and will eat an incredible amount, but they typically double in size in just six days! They will continue to be under constant care until they are ready to fly in approximately seven weeks.

An Inspiring Recovery

A peregrine hunts on the wing. ©Brian Kushner

In 2017 there were 34 nesting pairs of peregrine falcons were reported in all of New Jersey. Around two-thirds are known to have made their homes in buildings like the County Courthouse.

Until recent decades, the peregrine falcon population was in steep decline along with other birds of prey due to habitat loss and the pesticide DDT. By 1964, peregrine falcons had disappeared completely from New Jersey and all other states east of the Mississippi River.

Peregrine falcons were one of the first birds to be the focus of conservation efforts after the 1960’s.

In the 1980’s an intensive re-introduction effort began in the tri-state region, with biologists from the Endangered and Nongame Species Program and CWF leading the way in New Jersey. Since 2000 the New Jersey population has stabilized at approximately two dozen nesting pairs annually.

Livestreaming in Union County

2018 marks CWF’s second year partnering with Union County, providing a live stream of the action in and around the peregrine falcon nest located on the roof of the County Courthouse in midtown Elizabeth. CWF is proud to share the excitement in livestreaming the UCNJ Falcon Cam on our website and to use the webcam in our Union County school presentations, generously funded by Phillips 66.

Go to our website today to watch our new feathered friends as they continue to interact, and to learn more about the Peregrine Falcon. For more information about peregrine falcons, you can also visit the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Fish & Wildlife.

The Drama Continues at the Union County Peregrine Falcon Nest

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

by Jenae Shaw, Education Coordinator

Male Peregrine UCNJ

The peregrine falcon pair that took up residence on top of the Union County Courthouse in Elizabeth NJ laid their first egg on March 22. Shortly after, an intruding peregrine falcon caused the pair to defend their territory, leaving the resident female with injuries following the altercation that lasted on and off for several days. Despite her injuries, the resident female laid a second egg. Periodic sightings of the intruder, who was confirmed as female 91/BA (Cadence) from Rochester NY, continued throughout the week. On March 29 following an excruciating battle – for those watching and certainly for the falcons involved – the intruder was chased off.

Territorial battles like these force peregrine falcons to exert a tremendous amount of energy and undergo a great deal of stress – neither of which are beneficial to the eggs. Although male and female peregrine falcons take turns incubating the eggs, the female peregrine falcon is typically responsible as the primary means of incubation. Unfortunately, constant provocation from the intruding female kept the resident female off the eggs for extended periods of time.

On April 4th around 5:30 pm, Kathy Clark, ENSP Zoologist, was watching the live feed and witnessed 91/BA hit the resident female with a devastating blow – she has not been seen since.

The intruding female, having successfully won the territory and the affection of the resident male, did not waste any time familiarizing herself with her new surroundings. In a surprising turn of events, 91/BA adopted the 2 eggs from the previous female and laid 3 more of her own.

Unfortunately, we now know that the two eggs laid by the former resident female are not viable and will not hatch. The adults will continue to take turns incubating all five eggs. Incubation appears to be very consistent, so if all goes well hatching should take place sometime between May 30 – June 3. Stay tuned!

Union County Falcon Cam