|Eagle and Osprey Panels
October 5, 2016
Patriots of the Sky
There’s a nesting pair of bald eagles in Southern New Jersey. Ask him where and James won’t tell you. It’s top secret.
Eagles mate for life and breed earlier in the year than most other raptors. In the early spring, Fiorentino joined Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey to observe our national bird first-hand. He later returned with the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife on a bird banding mission. He shares, “When I held the newborn chicks in my hand, they were so small and still downy, and yet their power was already amazing!”
“With 161 pairs of bald eagles this past year — up from just a single nest in the early 1980’s — the dramatic ongoing recovery of bald eagles across the northeast continues to inspire so many of us,” says David Wheeler, Conserve Wildlife Foundation Executive Director. “The thrill of seeing a bald eagle fly across the sky is unparalleled.”
The Majestic Birds of Barnegat Bay
The wind whips through his hair as James Fiorentino glides through the brackish waters of Barnegat Bay. He is accompanying biologist Ben Wurst of Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey (CWF) on a hands-on hawk banding mission. Osprey, also called the fish eagle or sea hawk, have built 15 to 20 nests on specially erected platforms in the bay.
Arriving at a platform, James climbs to the top to see a nest up close. The sheer size of the nest is impressive. James gets the chance to band five young osprey, personally experiencing the work of CWF. Handling the birds, Fiorentino is struck by their majesty.
Bird banding is the attachment of small, individually numbered tags that enable tracking. This allows wildlife biologists to learn about the birds’ habits, locations and the health of the population. In 2015, a total of 534 active nests were documented, more than any other year in the osprey project’s history.
Thanks to professionals and volunteers alike, New Jersey has a robust and growing osprey population.