Bald eagles make big comeback in New Jersey

By 1973, New Jersey’s bald eagle population diminished to one known nest in the entire state.

It was hidden in Bear Swamp, an old-growth forest of American sweetgum and red maple trees in Cumberland County on the shores of Delaware Bay. At that time, biologists believed eagles could only survive in remote areas. 

That’s not the case, though, as the large predatory birds and national symbol are thriving in the Garden State, the most densely populated state in the country. They’re even nesting on cell towers.

“You learn something new about them all the time,” said Larissa Smith, a wildlife biologist with Conserve Wildlife Foundation in Trenton and co-author of the 2018 Bald Eagle Project, published jointly with the state’s Division of Fish and Wildlife.  

The annual project, released this month with data collected in the field by observers, reported 204 total nests, 185 were active with eggs. 

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