Our national bird, once an endangered species, is making a comeback in New Jersey. The bald eagle is no longer on the federal threatened and endangered species list. But New Jersey and other east coast states still offer that protection. For the first time, more than 100 eagle pairs have been counted in the state. And a record 119 eagle chicks were counted this year. Environment reporter Ed Rodgers files this report.
The raptors thrive near open water and in habitats that have a mixture of forest and agricultural lands. However, blood samples taken from the bald eagles show levels of contamination that contributed to their decline.
A check-off on the state’s income tax form helps pay for the DEP’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program.
Chief eagle biologist Kathy Clarke warns the public to exercise caution when spotting a bald eagle. She warns people against looking at these birds of prey (whether they are perched along the shoreline or on a nest) and then walking toward them until they fly away. That behavior, she says, is a disturbance.