Raptors in New Jersey

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Report Eagle, Peregrine Falcon and Other Endangered Species Sightings
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WATCH: Scientists 'band' peregrine falcon chick atop Jersey City skyscraper (nj.com, 6/22/17)

Bald Eagle
Peregrine Falcon
American Kestrel

Raptors, commonly referred to as "birds of prey," include hawks, owls, eagles, falcons and vultures. Raptors have fascinated people for thousands of years and inspire people even today. Fortunately, after some frightening declines in some of our largest species, raptors represent some of New Jersey's greatest success stories.

The bald eagle, osprey and peregrine falcon have made impressive comebacks from the brink of extinction, in large part thanks to the efforts of division biologists. Unfortunately, not all species of raptors are thriving - the American kestrel, for instance, has experienced a sharp decline in recent years, and the work of biologists in the Endangered and Nongame Species Program continues.

Osprey landing on nest
An osprey returns to its nest
Photo by Gary Lehman
Click to enlarge

Bald Eagle Information

Duke Farms Eagle Cam (Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ)

The bald eagle is a shining example of recovery in New Jersey. In 1973, when the Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act was passed, there was just one nesting pair, in a remote forest in Cumberland County.

Today there are more than 220 nesting pairs of eagles in the state. Most are in the Delaware Bay counties of Cumberland and Salem, but eagles can now be found in all 21 counties. Additionally, numbers of wintering eagles along the Delaware have increased dramatically. They remain on the state endangered species list, however, due to their sensitivity to environmental contaminants, habitat loss and human disturbance. The challenge to biologists and citizens now is protecting the lands and waterways used by eagles to maintain and enhance this species' recovery.

2021 Eagle Report (pdf, 6.69mb)
2020 Eagle Report (pdf, 2.4mb)
2019 Eagle Report (pdf, 1.2mb)
2018 Eagle Report (pdf, 5.2mb)
2017 Eagle Report (pdf, 940kb)
2016 Eagle Report (pdf, 735kb)
2015 Eagle Report (pdf, 850kb)
2014 Eagle Report (pdf, 970kb)
2013 Eagle Report (pdf, 345kb)
2012 Eagle Report (pdf, 520kb)
2011 Eagle Report (pdf, 380kb)
2010 Eagle Report (pdf, 535kb)
2009 Eagle Report (pdf, 430kb)
2008 Eagle Report (pdf, 362kb)
2007 Eagle Report (pdf, 163kb)
2006 Eagle Report (pdf, 573kb)
2005 Eagle Report (pdf, 260kb)
2004 Eagle Report (pdf, 138kb)
2003 Eagle Report (pdf, 129kb)
2002 Report (pdf, 380kb)
2002 Eagle Update
2001 Report (pdf, 120kb)
2000 Eagle Report (pdf, 245kb)
1998 Report
1997 Eagle Report (pdf, 40kb)

Bald Eagles with Supervising Zoologist Kathy Clark (DEP Podcast, 1/27/17)
The Last Nest: Saving Our Bald Eagle Population (njmonthly.com, 1/27/16)
Eaglet Banded at Merrill Creek (Video and Photos) (LehighValleyLive.com, 6/19/15)
NJ Bald Eagle Population at All Time High (NJTV News site, 1/22/15)
ESA Success Stories: From One to 135 (US FWS site, 2014)
From One to 135 - New Jersey's Bald Eagle Success Story (US FWS site, 2013)

Bald Eagle Rescue in Egg Harbor Township (3/7/13)
Bald Eagle Fact Sheet (pdf, 75kb)

Peregrine Falcon Information

Jersey City Falcon Cam - Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ site

Peregrine falcons, as the fastest bird in the skies, have fascinated people for centuries. Peregrine numbers fell due to the effects of DDT which caused their eggs to fail, and they became extinct east of the Mississippi by 1964. They were one of the first birds to be the focus of conservation, however, and through an intensive reintroduction program, returned to the skies in New Jersey and other eastern states in the 1980s.

The population in New Jersey has been about 20-24 pairs annually since 2000. In 2003 peregrine falcons returned to their historic cliff nesting habitat on the Hudson River Palisades – a huge milestone in the peregrine's recovery in the state and the region.

2021 Peregrine Falcon Report (pdf, 835kb)
2020 Peregrine Falcon Report (pdf, 1.2mb)
2019 Peregrine Falcon Report (pdf, 1.3mb)
2018 Peregrine Falcon Report (pdf, 630kb)
2017 Peregrine Falcon Report (pdf, 300kb)
2016 Peregrine Falcon Report (pdf, 280kb)
2015 Peregrine Falcon Report (pdf, 100kb)
2014 Peregrine Falcon Report (pdf, 130kb)
2013 Peregrine Falcon Report (pdf, 145kb)
2012 Peregrine Falcon Report (pdf, 135kb)
2011 Peregrine Falcon Report (pdf, 155kb)
2010 Peregrine Falcon Report (pdf, 255kb)
2009 Peregrine Falcon Report (pdf, 113kb)
2008 Peregrine Falcon Report (pdf, 136kb)
2007 Peregrine Falcon Report (pdf, 67kb)
2006 Peregrine Falcon Report (pdf, 34kb)
2005 Peregrine Falcon Report (pdf, 34kb)
2003 Peregrine Falcon Report (pdf, 20kb)
2002 Peregrine Falcon Report (pdf, 47kb)
2001 Peregrine Falcon Report (pdf, 18kb)
2000 Peregrine Falcon Report (pdf, 57b)

Peregrines Move In Upstairs (NYU's scienceline.org, 6/18/15)

Jersey City Falcon Cam - Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ site
  The DFW Peregrine Falcon Webcam (retired after 2013 season)
  Nestbox News - A chronical of nestbox activity, 2001-2014
  Peregrine Prey Transfer
  Peregrine Falcon Chick Feeding Video
  The Jersey City Peregrine Project and Curriculum
Union County Falcon Cam - Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ site

Peregrine Falcon Fact Sheet (pdf, 54kb)
Peregrine Facts

Reestablishment of Peregrine Falcons on Lower Hudson River Cliffs (pdf, 200kb) - New Jersey Audubon Society Publication, 2009
Establishment and Growth of the Peregrine Falcon Breeding Population Within the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain (pdf,165kb)

Osprey Information

Ospreys are well-loved birds of our coastal bays and marshes. Formerly known as the fish hawk, ospreys rely almost exclusively on fish for their diet. They have taken well to human structures, such as duck blinds and channel markers, for nest structures. They, like eagles and falcons, succumbed to the effects of DDT and their population dropped to about 60 pairs by the early 1970s.

With the help of biologists and, more recently, volunteers who put up nest structures, they have recovered to more than 500 nesting pairs. The Endangered and Nongame Species Program monitors their health as an indicator of many coastal species, as they are sensitive to contaminants and the viability of the aquatic food chain.

2020 Osprey Report (pdf, 3.2mb)
2019 Osprey Report (pdf, 3.8mb)
2018 Osprey Report (pdf, 830kb)
2017 Osprey Report (pdf, 620kb)
2016 Osprey Report (pdf, 900kb)
2015 Osprey Report (pdf, 240kb)
2014 Osprey Report (pdf, 105kb)
2013 Osprey Report (pdf, 115kb)
2012 Osprey Report (pdf, 77kb)
2011 Osprey Report (pdf, 75kb)
2010 Osprey Report (pdf, 179kb)
2009 Osprey Report (pdf, 158kb)
2008 Osprey Report (pdf, 151kb)
2007 Osprey Report (pdf, 48kb)
2006 Osprey Report (pdf, 44kb)
2005 Osprey Report (pdf, 52kb)
2004 Osprey Report (pdf, 43kb)
2003 Osprey Report (pdf, 21kb)
2002 Osprey Report (pdf, 43kb)

Osprey Fact Sheet (pdf, 50kb)
Osprey Volunteers Featured on WHYY NewsWorks Website
Osprey - April 2003 Species of the Month
Osprey Nest Platform Plans and Placement Information
Living With Osprey: A guide for the removal, relocation, and placement of osprey nests (pdf, 800kb)

American Kestrel Information

This once-common inhabitant of fallow fields and pastures has declined in recent years, and the reasons are largely unknown. In February, 2012, the American kestrel became listed as a State Threatened species. Below are links to some of the work ENSP has been conducting on this falcon.

2004 American Kestrel Survey (pdf, 334kb) The Endangered and Nongame Species Program embarked on a survey campaign in 2004, and the findings were alarming.

In 2006, ENSP started working with Dr. John Smallwood from Montclair University. Dr. Smallwood has run a successful kestrel nest box program since 1995 in northwestern New Jersey. One result of this collaboration was an article in a special issue of the Journal of Raptor Research focusing on American kestrels, American Kestrel breeding habitat: The importance of patch size (pdf, 375kb).

Using Dr. Smallwood’s nest box program as a model, ENSP started a nest box program in 2006. To further test the importance of patch size, ENSP placed nest boxes in habitat patches of different sizes and tracked their use by kestrels. The results of this study as well as a summary of the nest box program can be viewed in the New Jersey American Kestrel Nest Box Project 2006-2012 report (pdf, 3.6mb).

In December of 2012, ENSP presented a poster at the ESRI Mid-Atlantic User Group Conference, American Kestrel Habitat Loss and Fragmentation (pdf, 1.9mb). The poster summarizes American kestrel habitat within New Jersey over a 21 (1986-2007) year period.

Volunteer as a Nest Box Monitor - Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ

Please report your sightings of this bird, especially in the breeding season (April – July) using the Sighting Report Form.

American Kestrel Fact Sheet (pdf, 70kb)


arrow New Jersey's Endangered and Threatened Species Program
arrow New Jersey's Endangered and Threatened Species List
arrow Guidelines for Maintenance at Communication Towers that Support Raptor Nests (pdf, 45kb)
arrow Watchable Wildlife and Diversity Tours
arrow Partners in Flight
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