Pair of Eagles Make A Temporary Home In Barnegat Township
President of Southern Ocean Birding Group believes pair are juvenile bald eagles
What is likely two juvenile bald eagles have decided to make at least a temporary home in the areas of Aphrodite Drive and Hannah Lee Road in Barnegat Township.
"My wife and I were sitting in the backyard, and we heard all this screeching going on, and we looked up and saw two of them flying around," said Frank Passenti, who lives in the neighborhood. "They are both pretty big, a 5-foot wing span I'd say. They were way bigger than hawks."
According to information on the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife's website: "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 100 nesting pairs of eagles in the state."
The website notes, however, that these raptors remain on the endangered list, "due to their sensitivity to environmental contaminants, habitat loss and human disturbance."
Speaking on the Barnegat pair, Susan Puder, who is the president of the Southern Ocean Birding Group, said she believes they are juvenile bald eagles. She said that based on Passenti's and other neighbor's descriptions of the birds' size, and the fact that they do not yet appear to have the signature white head and plumage that is typically seen on bald eagles.
"It takes four years to develop the white head and tail plumage," she said. "And, people saw bald eagles flying over Manahawkin Lake during the winter, so they are in the area."
The Southern Ocean Birding Group was organized in September 2008 for its members to share just these types of experiences, Puder said. The SOBG presents monthly educational programs and field trips and meets at the Tuckerton Seaport in Tuckerton, New Jersey, and is open to the public.
The next regular meeting of the Birding Group is scheduled for Sept. 13 at the Tuckerton Seaport at 7 p.m.