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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.


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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