Conserve Wildlife Blog

Archive for the ‘Eagles’ Category

From Lost to Found: E97’s Story

Friday, April 5th, 2024

by: Larissa Smith, Senior Biologist

During the 2020 NJ Bald Eagle nesting season the Camden B pair hatched and raised two chicks. This nest was located along the Cooper River, in Camden County on a small parcel of undeveloped land in a very urban area.

Camden B eagle nest with 6 week old chicks May 14, 2020: photo by: Marilyn Henry

On June 5, we received notification that the nest had fallen from the tree during a storm, at that time the two chicks were approximately nine weeks old. They were too young to fly since eagle don’t fledge until at least 11 weeks of age. At nine weeks of age they are the size of an adult eagle so they would be noticeable on the ground. Despite an extensive search by staff and volunteers there were no signs of the two nestlings.

Fallen Camden B nest, June 8, 2020

Local wildlife rehab centers were notified in case the young eagles were found and brought in for care. At that point we could only speculate on their fate. Then on June 28, NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife Law Enforcement was alerted to eagles being held in a dog pen at a residence in Camden. NJDFW Conservation Officers visited the home and found the two missing eagle chicks. At this point the young eagles were twelve weeks old and should have fledged if they were still in the nest.

Camden eagles in dog pen; June 28th, 2020: photo K. Clark

The eagles had been kept in the basement and fed hotdogs and chicken. Fortunately for the chicks they were moved outside and an alert citizen reported the captive eagles. They were taken to Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research for evaluation and treatment. After a week in rehab it was determined that they were healthy enough to be released. By this time the adults were no longer actively in the area of the nest tree. After eagle chicks fledge they still spend a few weeks in the nest area with the adults, learning to survive on their own. It was decided to release the two eagles in a remote area of Cumberland County. On July 9 the two Camden eagles were released at the site.

E/96 & E/97 at release, Diving Creek Cumberland County

Staff and volunteers temporarily provided supplemental food (fish and road-killed mammals). The release area has a large population of juvenile and sub-adult eagles who could provide the social learning the young eagles needed. A trail camera was set up at the food drop. E/97 wasn’t seen again at the release site. Her sibling, E/96 was seen in the area several times after her release.

On March 18th, 2024, Kathy Clark with NJENSP received an email from Jerry amEnde regarding a green banded eagle he photographed at Bombay Hook NWR in Delaware.

The banded eagle was E/97! We are thrilled to know that despite her not having a “traditional” start to her life, she has to survived to become a gorgeous four year old eagle.

E/97 , March 18, 2024: photo by Jerry am Ende

“Jersey Girl”: 20 Years and Going Strong

Monday, February 5th, 2024

by: Larissa Smith, Senior Biologist

“Jersey Girl” (in rear) and mate 2024 photo by: Linda Oughton

One of my favorite things about working with the NJ Eagle Project is when we receive resighting’s of New Jersey banded eagles. Especially when that eagle is in a pair and nesting. One eagle that we’ve been following over the years, is fondly named “Jersey Girl” due to her NJ origins. She was reported to us in 2014 by Linda Oughton, who has been keeping track of her and her mate since 2010.

“Jersey Girl” showing bands; photo by Linda Oughton

Jersey Girl and her mate nest in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. She was one of three chicks banded May 10th 2004 at the Hopewell West, nest which is located in Cumberland County along the Cohansey River. She was banded with green band B-64. That means that this May “Jersey Girl” will be twenty years old!

Since 2010 the pair has successfully raised and fledged a total of 20 young eagles. The pair is not yet incubating this season and Linda reports that they usually start on Valentine’s Day. The pair is well loved by neighbors and people who walk along the Perkiomen Creek, where the pair often fishes.

It’s so wonderful to know that an eagle I helped band almost 20 years ago has survived and raised 20 chicks of her own.

“Jersey Girl’s” nest; photo taken from road by Linda Oughton.

Thank you to Linda Oughton for keeping us updated on Jersey Girl

2023 NJ Bald Eagle Project Report

Thursday, January 18th, 2024

by Larissa Smith, Senior Wildlife Biologist

The NJDEP Fish & Wildlife’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program and Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey have published the New Jersey Bald Eagle Project, 2023. The NJ eagle population continues to thrive. During the 2023 nesting season, 286 nest sites were monitored of these 255 pairs were active (laid eggs). This is a slight increase of 5 active nests from 2022. This season 309 young eagles were documented to have fledged, this number is a down from 2022’s high of 335 young fledged. The productivity rate of 1.28 young per active nest is above the 1.0 young per nest needed for population maintenance.

Fifty-four nest failed to fledge young this season, this means that the pair laid eggs, but the eggs failed to hatch or the chicks did not make it to fledging. There could be many reasons for nest failure including weather events, nest/tree collapse, disturbance by humans or intruder eagles. The NJ eagle population is doing well but they still need monitoring and protection. There is constant pressure for development in NJ and if we don’t know about a nest we can’t help to protect it. Eagles are nesting in all 21 NJ counties, from remote marshes in southern New Jersey to suburban neighborhoods. How the ENSP and CWF protects these nests is on a nest by nest basis. We couldn’t do this without the dedicated group of 150 NJ Eagle Project volunteers who not only monitor the eagle nests, but help minimize disturbance to nests by educating the public about NJ’s eagle population.

Forsythe NWR, eagles fight over prey, 12/16/23 photo by Rich Nicol

The 2024 NJ Bald Eagle season is underway with eight pairs currently incubating. A great way to see what goes on in an eagles nest is to watch the Duke Farms eagle cam. The female should be laying the first egg any day now.

We’d like to thank all the volunteers, sponsors, donors and friends of the NJ Eagle Project

NJ Eagle Cams: Ready For The 2024 Nesting Season

Friday, December 8th, 2023

by: Senior Biologist, Larissa Smith

Three Bridges Eagle Cam

The Three Bridges eagle cam went live for the 2024 nesting season on December 1st. A pair of eagles made an appearance that morning. The Three Bridges nesting platform was used by eagles in 2021, when they successfully raised two young. During the 2022 and 2023 nesting seasons, the pair were seen at the nest platform but ended up using a nest in a tree. We will see if the pair decides to use the nest platform this season. For now we believe that the Three Bridges pairs territory is both the nest tree and platform. As the numbers of nesting Bald Eagles continues to increase New Jersey there is the possibility that a second eagle pair could nest at the platform. Last nesting season there was lots of eagle action at the tower, eagles of all ages stopped by along with many different avian species. A pair of Osprey’s took interest in the nest platform but didn’t end up laying eggs. An American Kestrel perched at the platform on the first day the cam was live. It’ll be interesting to see what activity occurs at the tower this season.


Birds and Powerlines

Tuesday, November 14th, 2023

Larissa Smith: CWF Senior Biologist,

Nesting pair of eagles near Atlantic City@ Bill Reinert

Last week I attended the APLIC (Avian Powerline Interaction Committee) workshop hosted by PSE&G. APLIC is a group that leads the electric utility industry in protecting avian resources while enhancing reliable energy delivery. We all use electricity and power lines are needed to distribute the power to where it’s needed. Powerlines and transmission towers have become a normal part of the landscape and we don’t pay much attention until our power goes out. All different species of birds, from bald eagles to starlings, interact with powerlines, poles and towers daily, including perching and nesting on them.

With these interactions come issues, birds can be injured or die from electrocution and collisions which can cause power outages. Nests on poles and transmission towers can create problems with outages and fires as well as risk to chicks or adults. One part of my job is keep track of all reported injured or dead bald eagles in New Jersey. In 2023 there have been fifteen confirmed eagle electrocutions. Any recoveries that are a suspected electrocution or collision with a powerline are reported to the appropriate utility company. CWF and the NJ ENSP have a good relationship with the Utility companies in New Jersey. Each utility company has biologists that work on environmental issues including avian. There are a whole set of issues that they need to be taken into consideration when deciding how best to minimize negative avian interactions. The solutions require time, money and often scheduled power outages. When an area of lines or poles are identified as a risk for bird electrocution/collision, they are made as avian safe as possible. When new distribution lines are rebuilt, avian issues are taken into consideration and the appropriate measures are implemented.

There are quite a few bald eagles and ospreys that nest on poles and transmission towers throughout New Jersey. Most of these nests don’t cause problems, but if they need to be removed, the utility company works to obtain the proper permits and replace the nest with a new nesting structure in close vicinity. One example is the Three Bridges eagle nest. PSE&G needed to replace the entire distribution line where an eagle pair had been nesting on one of the towers for years. After much planning and coordination the nest was removed and placed on a nest platform installed on one of the new towers.

I certainly learned a lot at the workshop and gained a new appreciation for everything that goes into keeping our electricity flowing at the flick of a switch and making sure that avian species stay safe at the same time.

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