Monday, January 19, 2015

Tracking NJ Bald Eagles on Their Journeys

USFWS.gov photo

Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey (CWF) has released the 2014 Bald Eagle Report, highlighting the number of nesting pairs, active nests and nest productivity for the raptors throughout New Jersey with data collected by New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Fish and Wildlife biologists, CWFNJ biologists and dedicated volunteers.

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, named "Nacote," hatched at a nest near Nacote Creek in Port Republic, and wears a green band with code D/95.

The female, named "Millville," was from a nest on the Maurice River; she wore color band E/05. Unfortunately, Millville was found dead on November 24, 2014.

Nacote was in Canada until mid-October when he started heading south. He visited Six Flags Great Adventure in December and for the past two weeks, he has been residing in northeast Atlantic County, especially Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. Millville ventured out to Delaware Bay marshes in late July and back in early August. In mid-September, she crossed the Delaware River into Delaware and then spent most of September along the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland before crossing over to Virginia.

"Tracking these young eagles is giving us insight into where the birds go once they fledge and the type of habitat they are using," explained Conserve Wildlife Foundation Wildlife Biologist and Volunteer Manager Larissa Smith. "Unfortunately, we recently learned that the female was found dead in Delaware. The first year of life is tough for young eagles as they learn to survive on their own."




D/95 Nacote with GPS transmitter being attached. Kathy Clark/ENSP

"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to follow these juvenile bald eagles on their forays far from New Jersey," said David Wheeler, Conserve Wildlife Foundation Executive Director. "With the eagles choosing to fly in completely different directions, it’s a reminder on how much we still have to learn about these fascinating creatures. Yet what is not in doubt is the bald eagle’s continuing recovery from the brink of extinction - thanks largely to the dedicated scientists leading the way."

For maps of the movements of Nacote, updated regularly, visit conservewildlifenj.org/protecting/projects/baldeagle/.

2014 Eagle Report

The federal government removed the bald eagle from its list of Endangered Species in August of 2007, but the bald eagle’s official New Jersey status remains state-endangered for the breeding season and state-threatened for the non-breeding season. The Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program (ENSP) bald eagle recovery efforts, implemented in the early 1980’s, have resulted in a steady recovery of New Jersey’s bald eagle population. ENSP biologists, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey staff, and volunteer observers continue to locate and monitor bald eagle nests and territories each year to analyze the state of the population.

The population of wintering bald eagles has grown along with the nesting population, especially in the last ten years. This growth reflects increasing populations in NJ and the northeast, as each state’s recovery efforts continue to pay off for eagles.
  •     This season, 25 new eagle pairs were found.
  •     The statewide population increased to 156 pairs (including nesting and territorial) in 2014, up from 148 in 2013.
  •     A total of 156 nest sites were monitored during the nesting season, of which 146 were documented to be active (with eggs), up from 119 last year.
  •     One hundred fifteen nests (79%) of the 145 known-outcome nests produced 201 young, for a productivity rate of 1.39 young per active and known-outcome nest.
  •     The Delaware Bay region remained the state’s eagle stronghold, with 43% of all nests located in Cumberland and Salem counties.
  •     2014 marked the first year of successful eagle nesting in the Palisades Interstate Park in perhaps 100 years.

Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of New Jersey’s endangered and threatened wildlife and the habitats they depend on. We carry out our mission by researching and managing rare animal species, restoring habitat, educating New Jersey’s residents, and engaging volunteers in our conservation projects. Since the early 1990’s, CWFNJ scientists and educators have helped conserve and protect a variety of at-risk species of wildlife in New Jersey, the most densely populated state in the nation.  For more information on CWF, please visit us at www.ConserveWildlifeNJ.org

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