fish taco

Bald Eagles in NJ

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Saw the snowy owl discussion in the reports thread and wanted to check with the bird experts here.  How rare are bald eagles in NJ?

 

A pair of bald eagles were hanging out by my inlaws house in MoCo over the entire holiday weekend.  They were carrying sticks back and forth - is it possible they are building a nest?  What do these things eat in NJ?  Hitting the bunker schools like osprey?

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Not a bird expert, I see bald eagles quite a bit at Round Valley. Actually saw one in May over in Sayreville near the river. At round valley, they scoop up the trout that were brought up to fast from the depths and cant deflate their air bladder fast enough and float on the surface after being released. 

 

Interested to see if any better responses come about from this, good topic fish taco. 

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There are over 200 known nesting pairs of Bald Eagles in NJ. The DEP puts out a report on them every year. There are about 4 or 5 nesting pairs in Moco that I am aware of. They, like osprey nest near water but are more opportunistic hunters, taking not only fish but waterfowl, small mammals, pretty much anything they can catch. See my local pair in Moco pretty frequently, even saw one today at sunset flying in off the ocean while fishing on a local jetty. Right now some pairs are beginning to work on their nests for egg laying which can occur from January to March. Check the most recent report on the DEP website, maybe theres a new nest near the location you were visiting this weekend!

 

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I have a place in Forked River on Stouts creek.  We overlook the wetlands, and see bald Eagles all the time.  In the fall when the Osprey leave, the Eagles move into the nests then in the spring when the Osprey return the fun begins.  The Osprey usually get their nests back.

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I've seen the pair near Lambertville before, one while fishing the Musconetcong River and another near Sayreville. I think there's quite a few around in NJ. Haven't seen any near the shore yet. 

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They are seen pretty regularly here in Medford.  Had one hanging around the lot where I am getting ready to have a house built.  Very happy they didn't set up shop as I can imagine that would have caused some issues.

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There were a couple of em on the Navesink a few years ago, used to see em quite a bit.  Haven't noticed em or really looked in a while though.

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Rocco is the bird guy.

I don't think they are as rare as they were a couple decades ago. i see a few a year up by me in north jersey.  even saw one outside camden last year. 

they are fish eaters but will eat carrion, and i think small mammals and maybe other birds like ducks and geese.

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Not as rare as they use to be. I've seen a couple at work, and a few near the house. They hunt like any other bird of prey. Yes fish are on the menu. 

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I have seen them nesting along the salt marshes (sodbanks) of SJ. I have not personally seen one down that way catch a fish, but I have witnessed them carrying fish back to the nest. My dad and I had the pleasure once to witness a big mature eagle swoop in and pluck a decent sized fish out of the Delaware River up by the water gap. It was only 40 yards in front of our canoe and so quick & smooth that it almost seemed like we imagined it. Just thinking about that strike is completely reaffirming why fish should be wary & skittish of things from above when they’re in skinny water in daylight. 

 

There’s one confirmed mating pair I see regularly in SJ, old enough to mate but certainly not as mature or full grown compared with the size of the eagles from the Upper Delaware. I think I have read a few online news stories posted by the newspapers of Cape May & Atlantic Counties. 

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They're not rare, at all, but they tend to congregate around places that give them suitable habitat. You can see a rogue one almost anywhere, but for a better shot at sighting a baldy, you need to go where they either nest or congregate.


A guy at the Hawk Watch at Cape May Point told me once that he knows a couple of places on the Delaware Bay shore in Jersey that are lousy with eagles. Unfortunately, he didn't tell me where they are. :D 

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Witnessed one last week off the beach in Monmouth County dive into a school of bunker and fly away with one firmly in it's talons.  Never saw one in the ocean before . . . very cool.

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