NJ– The 2022 New Jersey Bald Eagle Project Report, developed by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Fish and Wildlife and the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, found 250 active nests last year. Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn M.
LaTourette said the population is growing.
Since 2021, 28 more active nests have produced eggs, totaling 250. 83% of those nests produced 335 offspring.
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Nests with known outcomes produced 1.42 young per nest, which is above the population-maintaining range.
“The continued growth of New Jersey’s bald eagle population is an inspiration to all of us and is a direct result of strong environmental protection laws, firm partnerships, innovative scientific techniques – and the dedication of many volunteers who devote much of their time to monitoring and protecting eagles,” LaTourette said.
“The Modern Jersey Bald Eagle Project—a cooperation between the DEP, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, and volunteer eagle watchers—demonstrates how new technologies, good coordination, public engagement, and education are protecting treasured wildlife species like the bald eagle.”
“The continuous recovery and growth of New Jersey’s bald eagle population is a fantastic story that gets better each year,” said Fish and Wildlife Assistant Commissioner Dave Golden.
“Conservation measures including conserving important eagle nesting and wintering locations, engaging and educating the public, and tracking eagles’ movements have all led to the remarkable success of the program that will continue to maintain New Jersey’s wildlife for future generations to enjoy.”
In 2022, there were 250 active nests, up from 119 in 2013. About half of all nests were in Cumberland, Salem, and Cape May counties along Delaware Bay.
2022 monitored 267 territorial pairings. This number comprises active nests and pairs that maintained nest territories but did not lay eggs. Fourteen southern, 10 central, and five northern territorial nesting sites were found.
Given the species’ rising population, New Jersey’s bald eagle health and productivity data are impressive. New Jersey’s volunteer-based monitoring program is becoming a model for how to monitor this species quickly and successfully in its final recovery stage.
“The Endangered Species Act, which fostered this incredible comeback, now commemorates 50 years,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Eagle Coordinator Thomas Wittig.
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Due to DDT use, New Jersey had only one bald eagle nest in the 1970s and 1980s, in Cumberland County. Eagles laid thin-shelled eggs that could not be incubated because this synthetic insecticide accumulated in the fish they ate. 1972 federal law outlawed DDT.
In the early 1980s, New Jersey reintroduced eagles from Canada and began artificial incubation and fostering, which paid off in the 1990s.
In 2007, the federal government delisted the bald eagle due to population growth.
In New Jersey, the bald eagle is state-endangered during the breeding season and state-threatened during the non-breeding season. Human activities in breeding and feeding locations and habitat degradation are the biggest threats to New Jersey bald eagles.
DEP Endangered and Nongame Species Program biologists work year-round to reduce nest disturbances by coordinating with a team of volunteer nest observers, advising landowners on eagle habitat protection, identifying land for acquisition and management, applying state land use regulations, and educating the public.
The New Jersey Bald Eagle Project protects nesting, foraging, and wintering locations, documents location data to identify at-risk habitats, and educates private landowners. To sustain the state’s bald eagle population, biologists and Conserve Wildlife Foundation employees monitor nests, report sightings, and safeguard crucial habitats alongside volunteer observers.