Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘nesting’

Continuing To Track NJ Eagles

Saturday, September 2nd, 2017

by: CWF biologist Larissa Smith

We keep track of all re-sightings we receive of NJ (green) banded eagles. This information is important as it lets us know where eagles raised in NJ go after leaving the nest and eventually where they end up nesting. In 2017 we have had NJ banded birds sighted in NJ as well as PA and VT.

On April 15, 2017 Mary Dunham photographed NJ banded D/18 near Lake Como in Belmar, NJ.  The female was banded in March 2011 at the Manasquan Reservoir, Monmouth County. She was with another smaller adult, assumed to be a male. While Mary  watched a third adult eagle came into the area and the pair chased it away. This is an indicator that D/18 was paired up and perhaps was nesting in the area.

D/18 @ Mary Dunham

In August we received a report that D/18 was sighted once again. This time she was up near the NY- Canada border. We don’t know much about the movements of nesting eagles so we can only speculate why she made such a big move north. Perhaps she went north with a recent fledgling or maybe she was kicked out of the pair by an intruder eagle and headed north?

D/40@ Reid Hoffer

In March we were contacted by Reid Hoffer who monitors an eagle nest along a reservoir in Rockland County NY.  He was able to get a photo of a green band, D/40, she was banded May 2011 at Newton Reservoir in Sussex County. Mr. Hoffer reports that unfortunately the pair did not produce any offspring this year.

D/40 & mate at nest in NY@Reid Hoffer








We are also currently tracking three NJ eagle with transmitters attached.  The New Jersey Bald Eagle Tracking project shows the movements of all three of these birds as well as their history.

Two of the transmittered birds  fledged from Merrill Creek Reservoir in Warren County, NJ. Harmony 2, has spent the last four years in a 100-mile swath of western Connecticut and Massachusetts. She fledged in 2012 making her a 5th year bird and breeding age. We suspect she’ll nest in the same area next season.  Haliae fledged in 2013 and has spent the past three years mostly around the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Perhaps she’ll stay in that area to nest? So two birds from the same nest, but one has settled to the north and one to the south.

Nacote, a male from the Galloway nest in Atlantic County, has stayed more “local” to his home area. He’s spent the last three seasons in Atlantic, Cumberland and Cape May Counties. He favors the CMC landfill and local sand pits where other eagles are known to roost and feed.

All this information helps us to locate roost and foraging areas and protect them.  It’s also fascinating to know where NJ eagles go after leaving their nest area, especially when they begin nesting. Why do some head north, others south and yet others stay near their “home” range? We don’t know, and that’s ok, it’s what makes them wild!

To learn more:

New Story Map Shows How Turtle Gardens Actually “Grow” Baby Terrapins

Monday, September 12th, 2016
Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey Releases a New Story Map: “Turtle Gardens”

By: Michael Davenport, Wildlife Biologist & GIS Program Manager

The northern diamondback terrapin is an imperiled species of turtle found in brackish coastal waters along the northeast coast of the United States. Within New Jersey, much of the nesting habitat once used by terrapins has been lost to development and rising sea level. What little suitable nesting habitat remains is often inaccessible to terrapins due to bulkheads or other construction and road mortality is a major cause of terrapin mortality as they cross roadways seeking nesting sites.

Screen-shot of the Turtle Gardens story map.

Screen-shot of the Turtle Gardens story map.

Turtle gardens provide suitable nesting habitat for diamondback terrapins where little natural suitable habitat remains or is inaccessible. By enhancing the existing habitat at a site within the terrapin’s range to meet their nesting habitat requirements, terrapins can more safely lay their eggs within an area specifically set-aside for them.

CWF recently partnered with the Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science (MATES) on a pilot project turtle garden on Long Beach Island in New Jersey. The newly released Turtle Gardens story map details this project.



Soaring High: A Month Long Celebration of the Eagle’s All-American Comeback

Friday, January 9th, 2015

Happy New Year from Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey! January 2015 is the Month of the Eagle! CWF is kicking off the new year by celebrating all things eagle. Follow us on social media and be sure to check your email (sign up for our list) for weekly stories on these amazing raptors from our own eagle biologist Larissa Smith. Larissa, a wildlife biologist who has been working for Conserve Wildlife Foundation since 2000, coordinates the New Jersey Bald Eagle Monitoring Project. This month, she will involve 80 volunteers in the monitoring of 175 territorial eagle pairs in New Jersey!

By: Larissa Smith, Wildlife Biologist and Volunteer Manager

Shark River eagle pair preparing nest @ Tom McKelvey

Shark River eagle pair preparing nest @ Tom McKelvey


Why is January the Month of the Eagle? Besides the fact that eagles are an awesome way to start out the new year, now is the best time of year to see eagles in New Jersey, and it’s the month when New Jersey bald eagles start laying their eggs.


The New Jersey bald eagle population is increasing every year. 2014 was a record setting nesting season with 156 eagle nests being monitored! One hundred forty-six of these were active (with eggs) and ten were territorial or housekeeping pairs. In 2014, New Jersey nesting eagles broke the 200 mark and produced 201 young! The 2014 NJ Bald Eagle Project Report has more details on the 2014 nesting season.


During the months of January and February, not only are New Jersey’s nesting eagles around but wintering eagles are also in the area. Eagle pairs are busy preparing their nests for the 2015 nesting season. The majority of eagles begin incubation in February, but a handful do start in January. Last year, the first New Jersey pair began incubating on January 12th.  In January and February, birds from more northern states come down to New Jersey where the winters are milder. The Delaware Bay and River are rarely frozen solid, allowing birds to continue finding food during the winter months.


The two counties in New Jersey with the largest number of eagle nests are Cumberland and Salem, so these are good areas to spot wintering eagles. Mannington Meadows in Salem County is a hot spot for eagle viewing, Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Atlantic County and the Delaware Water Gap in northern New Jersey. This time of year you could spot an eagle in any county in New Jersey!

3rd year eagle @ Kristen Nicholas.  Immature eagles plumage is variable before reaching adult hood

3rd year eagle @ Kristen Nicholas. Immature eagles plumage is variable before reaching adult hood


Don’t forget when eagle watching, eagles don’t have a full white head and white tail until around five years of age when they are mature. In their first four years, they can be a bit trickier to spot since their feather coloration is varied at different age stages. Please remember to respect the eagles when viewing them. Eagles are very sensitive to human disturbance during the nesting season, keep your distance from eagle nests and perched eagles. For more information on being a good eagle watcher see our brochure “Bald Eagles Nesting in New Jersey.”


Duke Farm eagle pair work on their nest December 30, 2014

Duke Farm eagle pair work on their nest December 30, 2014

Even if you’re not able to get out to see an eagle, you can watch them from the comfort of your home. Conserve Wildlife Foundation partners with Duke Farms to broadcast a live Eagle Cam.  This gives everyone the opportunity to see a pair of New Jersey eagles raise their young and learn about eagle behavior. There is also an interactive page where Eagle Cam viewers can post comments, observations and ask questions.


As you can see, January is a busy month for New Jersey eagles!  We’ll keep you updated as the month progresses and detail some of our current projects such as using telemetry to track eagles. Stay tuned for more Month of the Eagle posts!



2014 NJ Bald Eagle Nesting Season Has Begun

Monday, January 27th, 2014

by: Larissa Smith; Wildlife Biologist/Volunteer Manager

Eight pairs of NJ eagles are currently incubating (sitting on eggs). The earliest pair to start incubating was confirmed on January 12th, so the birds been keeping the eggs warm throughout the snow and cold weather. Eagle Project volunteers report that pairs all over the state are busy working on their nests in preparation for egg laying.

Want to see eagles and other raptors and learn all about them? The Cumberland County Winter Eagle Festival is February 8th, 2014.

The following photos were taken by Eagle Project Volunteer Tom McKelvey.

Adult with nesting material. ©Tom McKelvey

Adult with nesting material. ©Tom McKelvey

A pair works on their nest. ©Tom McKelvey

A pair works on their nest. ©Tom McKelvey


Terrapin nesting season begins

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012
Be Terrapin Aware this summer!

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Last Thursday there was a flurry of activity throughout coastal New Jersey. It was one of the peak days of the beginning of the northern diamondback terrapin nesting season. I had scheduled myself to be off to work on projects around my house but ended up working for half the day on our Great Bay Terrapin Conservation Project. Female terrapins were everywhere! They were crossing all over Great Bay Blvd., a 5 mile long road that bisects pristine terrapin habitat. The shoulders of the road are suitable nesting habitat as well, so at times as many as 10-15 terrapins could be seen in one small section of the road. There were so many that one terrapin bumped right into another one on the shoulder of the road!! They were digging nests and laying eggs all over the place. It was certainly a rare sight. Luckily traffic was mild and  the weather was clear so there were little road kills. One female fell victim to a Little Egg Harbor Twp. mower who was mowing the edges of the road. This certainly wasn’t the best day to mow the shoulders! Before more terrapins could be killed we contacted LEHT public works and they called off their mower until further notice. On a side note, we have asked the township and the environmental commission to adopt a delayed mowed regime in the past and unfortunately one terrapin died because of this. I even emailed the public works director early last week about nesting activity picking up and I asked for him to please let me know when they were planning to mow so we could have someone walk in front of the mower to be sure no terrapins were hit. On the positive side, we were able to salvage 7 eggs from the terrapin, and they were successfully placed in a hatchery in Loveladies on LBI. We have our fingers crossed that they’ll hatch later this summer!

Finally, we have had more of a presence on Great Bay Blvd this year with the assistance of our new intern, Kristin Ryerson. She is collecting data (size, age, weight, and other data) on terrapins that she encounters while conducting road patrols on Great Bay Blvd. We’ll be using this data to compare it to some collected in Barnegat Bay and past studies that were conducted on the road. Her position is a volunteer position so I really appreciate all of her help so far! We also have volunteers who are acting as “Terrapin Stewards” where they also conduct road patrols to collect sightings of terrapins, educate visitors to the road about terrapins, and they also make sure terrapins safely cross the road. Without their help this project would not be successful!