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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