|A bald eagle at Mountain Lakes Preserve, Princeton, NJ - Photo by Christina Keddie|
CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons
The 2016 Bald Eagle Project annual report has been released and is available on the NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife website.
The Bald Eagle population continues to thrive with 172 nest sites monitored (150 documented with eggs) which is up by 11. A total of 216 new birds were born to 132 of those nests.
These numbers are more than what's needed to help maintain the state's current bald eagle population.
In the 1970s, the eagle was pushed to the brink in New Jersey and its recovery has been perhaps the greatest success of the endangered species program in the state. No longer listed as endangered in NJ, we were reduced to just one nesting pair in 1973 in a Cumberland County forest.
The biggest threats to the bald eagle population are still habitat loss and human activity that can change eagles' behavior. Though contaminants in the birds' food web can still affect nesting, that threat has been reduced in the past four decades due to the banning of dangerous chemicals in pesticides.
New Jersey's bald eagles are monitored throughout the nesting season in order to protect them and their nests. GPS transmitters are attached when possible to young eagles to follow their movements.
The Delaware Bay region has the largest eagle population. 47 percent of all nests are in Cumberland and Salem counties and on the bay side of Cape May County. But 15 new eagle pairs were seen this season. There were a dozen in south Jersey and three in the central part of the state.
For the full report visit njfishandwildlife.com/ensp/raptor_info.htm#eagle