Three Bridges Eagle Cam
This project is a partnership between multiple organizations to determine the effects of upgrading electrical transmission equipment on nesting bald eagles.
Bald eagles have made an inspiring recovery against overwhelming odds in New Jersey and across the eastern United States. From just a single nesting pair at a failing nest through the early 1980s, eagles have rebounded to over 300 pairs in 2020!
The return of our national symbol has been cheered by New Jerseyans young and old. One site that has been a local favorite has been found at Three Bridges, a community in Readington Township in Hunterdon County. Eagles have nested on top of an electric transmission tower since 2015 and have successfully raised 14 young.
The line of towers was replaced by monopoles, PSE&G worked with Conserve Wildlife Foundation, NJDFW Endangered and Nongame Species Program, and US Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure that the Three Bridges eagles would have every opportunity to continue nesting here. PSE&G designed and installed a nest platform on the new monopole and placed the original nest on the platform once it was erected. The pair returned to the tower and used the new nesting platform in Feb. 2020. The pair raised two young that were banded, H/04 & H/05. The eagle cam was fixed at the time of banding. Both young fledged the end of June, but H/05 was found grounded July 4th. He was taken to The Raptor Trust for rehabilitation and after healing, he was released back at the nest site.
2023 Three Bridges Nesting Season:
The Three Bridges cam will be turned off on April 1st.
March 7th 2023
There aren’t any eagles nesting on the platform but there has been a lot of activity at the tower.
We think that the Three Bridges pair is using the same nest in a tree that they used in 2022. This season the pair began incubation on February 19th. NJ Eagle Project nest monitors work closely together to monitor the tree nest while also watching the cam and comparing notes. We believe that the tower is in the Three Bridges pairs territory so they do visit it now and then.
The tower is being used by other eagles and raptor species. On February 25th, there was quite a bit of activity. An immature eagle was on the tower with an adult.
At one point another adult buzzes them. Then another immature eagle comes into the nest. We don’t know if this was an “extra” adult or one from the Three Bridges pair.
The closeups of the immatures give a great look at the different plumage immature eagle have until their 5th year, when they get the white head and tail feathers. While plumage on individuals vary these birds are between 2- 3 years of age.
Nest Monitor, Mary Ellen Hill has seen a pair of kestrels on the tower daily. On March first a pair of adults, an immature eagle and a red-tailed hawk all stopped by the platform.
While it is disappointing that the platform isn’t being used for nesting this season, it is still neat to see the birds that do use the tower and platform. As the NJ eagle population continues to increase, at some point in the future there will most likely be a pair that will use this platform for nesting.
February 7th, 2023
The pair were seen spending time at the platform nest in the morning and afternoon today. They copulated and chased an intruder eagle away. There have been no eggs laid at the tree nest so we're still waiting to see where they choose to nest this season.
February 2nd 2023
Today a pair of American Kestrels were seen on the cam copulating. Both of the birds were banded with silver leg bands. In 2012 Kestrels were listed as a NJ Threatened species due to a decline in their population since 2000. Kestrels naturally nest in cavities, but will also nest in man-made nest boxes.
One of the kestrels expelled a pellet as can be seen in the series of two photos below. Pellets are the indigestible materials such as fur, bones and feathers from their prey.
January 24th, 2023
The view from the cam was stunning at sunrise. A kestrel visited the tower as well as an immature eagle.
January 20th, 2023
An adult eagle brought a fish to the nest platform today. We still don't know where the pair will nest. They have been seen at the tree nest they used last season. In 2022 they laid their first egg January 19th. So they should be choosing their nest any day now.
January 6th, 2023
A pair of American Kestrel's perched at the platform today. These are the smallest falcon's in North America with beautiful plumage.
January 5th, 2023
The pair was back at the nest yesterday and the female was seen bringing in a stick.
January 3rd, 2023
Today there was more eagle activity at the nest platform. Two eagles were at the platform and buzzed again by a red tailed hawk. The pair then copulated. Nest Monitor Mary Ellen Hill was able to zoom in and get some great closeup views of one of the eagles.
Cam viewers witnessed some interesting activity at the nest platform. A pair of eagles was seen on the platform. They were buzzed by a Red-tailed hawk and the pair defended the nest. A pair of eagles has also been seen working on the tree nest that we assumed the Three Bridges pair used last season. Since non of the eagles are banded we can't know 100% that it's one or two pairs. But most likely it is the Three Bridges pair using both the nest tree and platform as their "territory".
This afternoon a Peregrine Falcon visited the tower to eat its lunch.
Eagle nest monitor Mary Ellen Hill reports that she hasn't seen the pair on the nesting platform, but she did see them perched on the arm of the tower December 4th.
- View/download an informational flyer
Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager: Email
Larissa Smith, Wildlife Biologist: Email
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