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Chickens were used to incubate bald eagle eggs in 1982. This innovative technique was used to save the last remaining bald eagle nest in New Jersey.

 

Bald Eagles of Mercer County

Welcome to the “Bald Eagles of Mercer County”, where we celebrate the all-American recovery of the bald eagle in Mercer County, New Jersey. Wiped out from the county just a few decades ago, Mercer County now holds four nesting pairs of bald eagles – including two pairs in Mercer County’s park system!


Bald Eagles are extremely sensitive to human disturbance. At no time should anyone approach nesting eagles. People who want to observe or photograph eagles and who come too close may actually cause the birds to abandon a nest.

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Located in Mercer County Park in West Windsor, New Jersey, this cam sits atop a former bald eagle nest near Mercer Lake. While there is not currently a nesting pair here, numerous bald eagles have been using this nest as a roost and feeding perch. Other wildlife visits as well, including a brave raccoon seen sleeping in the nest just a few weeks ago! The cam also frequently captures eagles flying and roosting in the distance between the nest and the lake.

Made possible through the generous support of PSE&G, the Mercer County Eagle Cam is a partnership between Mercer County Parks, Conserve Wildlife Foundation, and the Wildlife Center Friends.

Join us for the the second year of “Eyes on Eagles” programming to celebrate the four pairs of bald eagles that nest in Mercer County, including two pairs that have chosen County parks for nest sites.

Building on the success of last year’s program, viewing programs will be held throughout the spring nesting season. The first free public event will be on Monday, Feb. 17, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the West Picnic Area of Mercer County Park.

“Eyes on Eagles” bald eagle viewings will be held on the second Sunday and fourth Friday of the month, from 1 to 3 p.m., through May 10, 2020. Naturalists and guides will be on hand to help the public safely view bald eagles, providing binoculars and spotting scopes for a closer look.


2020 Mercer County Eagle Updates

May 28, 2020

The chicks are nine weeks of age. They are flapping and doing wing exercies to strengthen their wings.

Image of Mercer Co Parks 5/27/20@BuynieMercer Co Parks 5/27/20@Buynie

The chicks at the second Mercer Co. Park nest have fledged. Kevin Buynie reports that the nest was empty.

Image of Mercer Co. Park, empty nest@BuynieMercer Co. Park, empty nest@Buynie

May 19, 2020

The two chicks in the Mercer County Park nest are now eight weeks old. The Buynie's report that the chicks were seen flapping their wings.

Image of May 17, 2020@ BuynieMay 17, 2020@ Buynie

The two chicks at the second Mercer Co. Park nest are 12 weeks old. The Buynie's report that only one chick was observed in the nest on the 17th. The second chick has fledged. Even after fledging, the chicks will stay in the nest area for a few weeks as they learn to hunt on their own.


May 3, 2020

The chicks in the Mercer Co Park nest are now 6 weeks of age. The Buynie's captured this photo of the female bringing food to the hungry chicks.

Image of 5/3/20 Mercer County Parks nest @ Buynie5/3/20 Mercer County Parks nest @ Buynie

The chicks in the second Mercer Co. Park nest are now 10 weeks of age, only a few weeks away from fledging. In the photo below you can see one of the chicks flapping it's wings, they do this to strengthen their wing muscles.

Image of 5/3/20 Mercer Meadows@Buynie5/3/20 Mercer Meadows@Buynie

April 29, 2020

Eagle nest monitors Kevin & Karin Buynie report that the chicks in both Mercer County Park nests are doing well. The chicks in the first nest are now five weeks old while the second Mercer County nest has nine week old chicks. The first photo below is of the five week old chicks, they still have their second coat of down and are starting to get their pin feathers. The second photo shows the much larger and feathered nine week old chicks. Kevin reports that these chicks are now self-feeding.

Image of April 28, 2020April 28, 2020Image of April 28, 2020 @BuynieApril 28, 2020 @Buynie

April 20, 2020

The chicks are four weeks old. Kevin reports, that he was able to see quick peeks of the chicks. It was a windy day so they were staying low in the nest. In the below photo you can see a fuzzy lump at the females feet, which is one of the chicks.

The chicks at the second Mercer Co Park nest are now eight weeks old. Now that that they are older the adults don't spend as much time in the nest, but at least one will still be keeping an eye on the chicks.

Image of April 20,2020April 20,2020

April 7, 2020

Good news. Kevin reports that there are two chicks at the Mercer Co. Park nest. The chicks are two weeks old, with their first coat of gray down. See if you can spot one of the chicks in the photo below.

Image of Can you find the chick? 4/6/20@BuynieCan you find the chick? 4/6/20@Buynie

April 2, 2020

The Mercer Co. Park eagle nest has hatched. On April 1st, nest monitor, Kevin Buynie, saw a feeding session. Chicks usually won't be seen in the nest until about 2 weeks of age.

Image of Mercer Co 4/1/20 adults@BuynieZoom+ Mercer Co 4/1/20 adults@BuynieImage of Mercer Co, 4/1/20@BuynieZoom+ Mercer Co, 4/1/20@Buynie

The two chicks at the second Mercer Co Parks nest are now six weeks old.

Image of Mercer Meadows, 2 chicks 4/1/20@ BuynieMercer Meadows, 2 chicks 4/1/20@ Buynie

March 26, 2020

The Mercer pair continues to incubate and hopefully by the next update there will be hatching. Incubation started on February 24th, so hatching should be approximately around March 30th.

The 2nd Mercer Co nest has two chicks which are now five weeks of age and the oldest is developing pin feathers. Thanks to the nest monitors the Buynie's for keeping us update.

Image of Mercer Co 3/24/20 @ BuynieMercer Co 3/24/20 @ Buynie

March 11th, 2020

The Mercer Co. GC pair continues to incubate, hatching is expected the last week in March.

The second nest located on Mercer County property has two chicks that are three weeks old. Nest Monitors Kevin and Karin Buynie took this photo of one of the chicks.

Image of Pennington March 9, 2020@BuyniePennington March 9, 2020@Buynie

March 4, 2020

The Mercer Co pair continues to incubate. Nest monitor Kevin Buynie captured a great shot of the female coming in for a landing. A second pair on Mercer Co property already hatched and a chick has been seen.

Image of Coming in for a landing March 2, 2020@K. BuynieComing in for a landing March 2, 2020@K. Buynie

February 25, 2020

INCUBATION

Nest Monitor Kevin Buynie reported incubation on February 24th. Incubation lasts ~ 35 days. Eagles can lay 1 to 3 eggs and they are laid a few days apart. Now that incubation has started an adult will be on the nest most of the time. Though there can be brief periods, especially on warmer days, where the adults are off the eggs. But one will always be close by the nest.

Image of 2/24/20 incubation@ Buynie2/24/20 incubation@ Buynie

Kevin witnessed a juvenile eagle attempt to land twice on the nest, only to realize that an adult was occuping the nest. The juvenile then landed on a nearby tree to perch and the female continued incubating.

Image of 2/24/20 Juvenile attempts to land at occupied nest @ Buynie2/24/20 Juvenile attempts to land at occupied nest @ Buynie

Please note: this photo was taken by the NJ Eagle Project Nest Monitor with a high powered lens so that the eagles weren't disturbed. Please respect eagles and don't approach them or nests.


February 5, 2020

The last update of the 2019 season was that the nest had collapsed in the beginining of July. We were hopeful that the pair would return to the old nest where the eagle cam is located. But these are some determined birds and they worked hard to rebuild last year's nest. The nest looks to be much stronger this year. The pair is in the area but not yet incubating.

Image of Mercer Co GC rebuilt nest 1/27/20@ BuynieMercer Co GC rebuilt nest 1/27/20@ Buynie

2019 Mercer County Eagle Updates

July 8, 2019

The second chick has fledged from the Mercer nest. E/89 and his sibling were both seen at the nest perched together, in the photo below, E/89 is on the right, we suspect his sibling is female due to her larger size. The nest is falling as seen in the photos below. On July 1st the nest was still fairly upright but by July 7th it had fallen substantially, most likely due to the heavy rains. The good news is that both chicks are fledged.

Hopefully the pair will use the old nest with the eagle cam next season.

Thank you to Kevin and Karin Buynie who monitored this pair.

Image of Mercer nest 7/1/19Zoom+ Mercer nest 7/1/19Image of 7/7/19 siblings @K. BuynieZoom+ 7/7/19 siblings @K. BuynieImage of 7/7/19 flying@K.Buynie7/7/19 flying@K.Buynie

July 2, 2019

E/89 fledged on Friday the 28th. Yesterday nest monitor, Kevin Buynie, photographed him perched and flying near this season's nest. He reports that the remaning chick is very active jumping around the nest and should be fledging soon.

Image of 7/1/19 E/89 perched@K. Buynie7/1/19 E/89 perched@K. BuynieImage of 7/1/19 E/89, flying@K. Buynie7/1/19 E/89, flying@K. BuynieImage of 7/1/19 Mercer nest @ K.Buynie7/1/19 Mercer nest @ K.Buynie

June 27th, 2019

Nest monitor Kevin Buynie reports that the chick remaining in the active nest is doing well and branching. E/89 is out of camera view this morning, perched above the nest.

Image of June 26, 2019 Mercer chick branching.June 26, 2019 Mercer chick branching.

June 25th, 2019

This morning, the chick that was at Mercer Wildlife Center since being found on the ground June 12th, was re-nested. He was placed in the old nest from the 2018 nesting season and can now be seen on the nest cam. This old nest and the current nest, with his sibling, are close together, so the adults will be able to bring food to both nests.

He was banded with both a federal(silver) band and a green NJ state band, E/89.

Image of talons@K. BuynieZoom+ talons@K. BuynieImage of bands@K. BuynieZoom+ bands@K. BuynieImage of John Heilferty climbing nest tree@K. BuynieZoom+ John Heilferty climbing nest tree@K. BuynieImage of @K. BuynieZoom+ @K. BuynieImage of Chick at nest@K. BuynieZoom+ Chick at nest@K. BuynieImage of Chick going up to nest in bag@K. BuynieZoom+ Chick going up to nest in bag@K. Buynie

June 20, 2019

The chick continues to do well at Mercer Wildlife Center. He is a male which was confirmed by measurements. They are waiting for him to gain some more weight and eat on his own before renesting. We're hoping on getting him back up in the nest next week.

Nest Monitor's Kevin and Karin Buynie report that the second chick, still in the nest, has been active; preening, standing and flapping it's wings.

Image of June 19, 2019, Mercer Wildlife CenterJune 19, 2019, Mercer Wildlife Center

June 13, 2019

Yesterday nest monitor Kevin Buynie went out to check on the Mercer eagle nest. He saw one chick in the nest and was waiting to see the second when he heard calling. He saw that the second chick was perched on a log on the ground. The chicks are about eight weeks old, so they still have a few more weeks until they fledge. Being on the ground leaves the chick vulnerable to predation.

Kevin, who is experienced with handling eagles, took the chick to the Mercer County Wildlife Center. At the center it was examined and determined that there were no injuries. The chick is underweight, so will stay at the center until he is up to a normal weight. At that point a decision will be made on how to renest the chick. Thank you to Kevin and Mercer Wildlife Center for helping to give this young eagle a second chance.

Image of Chick found on ground 6/12/19@K. BuynieChick found on ground 6/12/19@K. BuynieImage of June 12, 2019 @K. BuynieJune 12, 2019 @K. Buynie

June 9, 2019

The chicks are eight weeks of age and getting big. Nest monitor Kevin Buynie got the following shots of both chicks in the nest. You'll notice a turtle shell caught on the outside of the nest, turtles seem to be a favorite food for eagles. The other photo shows one of the chicks stretching it's wings, which reveals the still fuzzy legs and feather sheaths under the wings.

Image of June 9, 2019June 9, 2019Image of June 9, 2019June 9, 2019

May 22, 2019

The chicks are now five weeks old and are getting their pin feathers. You can see in the below photo the dark feathers starting to come in along their back and wings. The photo gives a nice view of the chicks full crop. (the crop is a pouch on the chest where extra food is stored).

Image of May 17, 2019@ K&K BuynieMay 17, 2019@ K&K Buynie

May 16, 2019

The chicks are now just over four weeks of age. Nest monitor Kevin Buynie took this photo of the two chicks sitting in the nest. They now have their second coat of dark gray down. The second photo is of the female bringing a small fish to the nest.

Image of May 11, 2019 @K. BuynieMay 11, 2019 @K. BuynieImage of May 11, 2019 @K. BuynieMay 11, 2019 @K. Buynie

April 30th, 2019

The pair built a new nest in 2019 in a different tree then where the eagle cam is located. The pair started incubating on March 8th and hatched on April 16th. The nest monitors have reported two chicks in the nest. As of today the chicks are approximately two weeks of age.

The male in this pair is a NJ banded bird. He has a green state band D/47 on his left leg. That specific combination tells us that he was banded on April 13, 2012 at the Prospertown nest.

The below photo shows the banded male bringing prey to the nest. If you look closely in the second photo you will see the fuzzy head of a chick between the adults.

Please note: this photo was taken by the NJ Eagle Project Nest Monitor with a high powered lens so that the eagles weren't disturbed. Please respect eagles and don't approach them or nests.

Image of Mercer nest April 16th, 2019.Mercer nest April 16th, 2019. Kevin & Karin BuynieImage of Mercer eagle nest April 23,2019.Mercer eagle nest April 23,2019. Kevin & Karin Buynie

Stay tuned for regular updates from our biologists and educators on the nesting eagles of Mercer County.

Post your own observations and comments below!

And calling all photographers – post your photos of bald eagles nesting, flying, perching, or feeding in Mercer County. (Remember – never approach a bald eagle nest! Disrupting them at an active nest may result in the nest failing and young perishing).


Find Related Info: Raptors, Bald Eagles

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