Immature bald eagles do not acquire the typical white head and tail until they are four to five years of age.
Merrill Creek Eagle Tracking
Follow along with one of our partners, who are also tracking bald eagles that originated from nests in New Jersey!
Bald Eagle Project
We help manage the state's population of Bald eagles. In 2014, there were 156 pairs of bald eagles monitored in New Jersey.
New Jersey was once home to more than 20 pairs of nesting Bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). As a result of the use of the pesticide DDT, the number of nesting pairs of Bald eagles in the state declined to only one by 1970 and remained at one into the early 1980's. Use of DDT was banned in 1972. That ban combined with restoration efforts by biologists within the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife'sEndangered and Nongame Species Program (ENSP) acted to increase the number of New Jersey Bald eagles to 146 active pairs in 2014 and 201 young produced.
Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ and ENSP biologists work together to manage and reduce disturbance in eagle habitats, especially around nest sites. Eagles are very sensitive to human disturbance and will abandon their nest sites if people encroach on the area during the nesting season. Education and established viewing areas are important in minimizing disturbance, as are the efforts of project volunteers. Biologists also work to protect habitat in a variety of ways, including working with landowners, land acquisition experts, and through the state's land use regulations.
During the nesting season (late Jan. - July) we host a live web camera (EagleCam) that is situated above a Bald eagle nest inside Duke Farms in Hillsborough, New Jersey.
Bald Eagle Tracking Project
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During the summer of 2014 two juvenile bald eagles were fitted with a GPS tracking device (a wearable backpack). ENSP biologists chose one eagle from Atlantic County (a male) and one from Cumberland County (a female) to be tagged in this telemetry study. The male (blue line), named "Nacote," hatched at a nest near Nacote Creek in Port Republic, and wears a green band with code D/95. The female (red line), named "Millville," is from a nest on the Maurice River; she wears color band E/05.
The data collected will help shed light on the life-cycle of non-breeding eagles and can be used to protect communal roost sites under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
How to use features on the map
Each color line depicts where a particular bird has traveled. Blue = male (Nacote). Red = female (Millville). The current location of the bird is indicated by the point or dot on the map. You can click and drag the point to any location on a line to view when the bird was there. You can also use the calendar (top center) to select a particular date and the point will move to where the bird was on that date. Lastly, to change the type of map you're viewing (default is satellite), click on the box on the top right of the map for standard and terrain views.
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Eagle Tracking News
The last location received for E/05 "Millville" was November 17th. On the 24th we received a call that she had been found dead by the side of the road in Delaware. A necropsy will be preformed to determine cause of death. We are lucky that a passerby stopped and contacted us, so we'll know what happened to her. There is a high mortaility rate for first year eagles as they learn to survive on their own.
The nest on Nacote Creek is difficult to monitor, so the eagle banding crew was walking into the site without knowing the chick's age with certainty. Mick Valent climbed the 70' tall pine tree, and just as he was going over the rim of the nest, the eagle nestling decided to jump rather than wait to see what happened. He was about 8.5 weeks of age, and his wings were adequate to float him to a soft landing on the salt marsh, where he was easily picked up by Dr. Erica Miller. He was fine, and we proceeded to take the standard measurements before attaching the transmitter. "Nacote" was back in the nest in short order. That was on May 6, and according to the transmitter data, he first moved away from the nest tree on May 22, but he remained within about 1/4 mile for more than one week as he learned flying and landing skills. He made a bold northern movement in late July, and as of mid-September was in Canada.
The nest where Millville hatched is on the upper Maurice River, in a tall pine with a beautiful river view. Mick Valent made the climb up as the crew watched from the river, and that's where we confirmed there were three eaglets in the nest. With Mick's approach to the nest, two of the eaglets moved away from his side of the 8-foot wide nest and out of his reach. One eaglet, probably the youngest of the three, remained close enough and became one of our study eagles. She was lowered to the ground where she was measured and fitted with the transmitter. She was about 8.3 weeks of age, perhaps a week behind her siblings. The banding date was May 19, and she remained close to the nest until late July, venturing out to Delaware Bay marshes and back in early August. As of mid-September she remains in southern NJ.
2014 Annual Bald Eagle Project Report - 4.8MB
Bald Eagles Nesting in New Jersey- brochure - 650.8KB
Bald Eagles Nesting in New Jersey- Information for Landowners and Land Managers - 644.8KB
2013 Bald Eagle Project Report - 1.0MB
Guidelines for Maintenance at Communication Towers that Support Raptor Nests in New Jersey - 49.4KB
Adopt a Species - Bald eagle - 197.5KB
2012 Bald Eagle Project Report - 1.3MB
2011 Bald Eagle Project Report - 842.7KB
2010 Bald Eagle Project Report - 534.7KB
2009 Bald Eagle Project Report - 430.8KB
Larissa Smith, Biologist: Email
Adopt a Bald Eagle!
Adopt a Bald eagle and help Conserve Widlife Foundation protect this endangered species in New Jersey.