In New Jersey, that comeback has been dramatic. In 1985, only a single pair of nesting bald eagles were recorded in the state. In 2009, that number was up to 84 pairs, with 69 active nests; of those, 56 nests were known to be successful in producing a total of 99 young.
According to the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection, bald eagles nesting in New Jersey face many challenges, with disturbance and habitat loss the greatest threats in our state. In addition, contaminants in the food chain may negatively affect the eagles nesting in some areas of the state.
Once listed as a Federally Endangered Species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the bald eagle remains protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act of 1940. In New Jersey, the bald eagle remains on the state endangered list. Bald eagles are extremely sensitive to human disturbance and the public is advised to stay far away from nesting eagles. People who want to observe or photograph eagles and who come too close may actually cause the birds to abandon a nest.
The Eagle Cam as a Learning Tool
Working in collaboration with Duke Farms, the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey (CWFNJ), a non-profit organization dedicated to New Jersey's rare wildlife and providing place-based wildlife education, has developed four lessons plans for educators based on the use of the Eagle Cam in the classroom.
“We are very grateful to Duke Farms for sharing this EagleCam with us,” said Margaret O’Gorman, executive director of CWFNJ. “It complements our PeregrineCam that will go live later in the season and provides New Jersey teachers and students with a window into wildlife in their home state.”
According to CWFNJ, the Eagle Cam can be a valuable took in teaching students about the scientific method -- asking questions, performing research, creating a hypothesis, conducting an experiment, analyzing results and forming a conclusion. As they watch the activities of the birds onscreen, students begin the process by asking important questions: What do they eat? How long does it take for the eggs to hatch? How long does it take for the chicks to fly? The lesson plans for the Eagle Cam are available at CWFNJ’s Web site at www.conservewildlifenj.org.