Fundraiser planned for Jersey Shore ‘bald eagle cam’

    A bald eagle delivers material to a nest on a Brick Township cellular tower in March 2016. (Photo: Donna McKnight)

    A bald eagle delivers material to a nest on a Brick Township cellular tower in March 2016. (Photo: Donna McKnight)

    Live from Brick Township, it’s the bald eagle cam!

    If an Ocean County environmental organization’s fundraising effort is successful, the daily activities of a popular bald eagle nest in Brick will be streaming live on your smartphone.

    [Related: Bald eagles of the Jersey Shore]

    Save Barnegat Bay, a Lavallette-based coastal conservation organization, is seeking to affix a live camera above the nest. A fundraiser as part of Ocean First Bank’s 20th annual “Charity Challenge” will begin on April 20. 

    Curiously nestled on the top of a cellular tower, locals have gathered for years to watch the majestic birds of prey, which are distinguished by their characteristic coloring

    Photographer Donna McKnight has been documenting the daily activities at the nest, including feeding, delivery of sticks, and mating. The nest location near the Barnegat Bay affords the nesting pair — which mates for life — access to fish, their staple food

    [Related: Wildlife expert rescues injured juvenile bald eagle in Little Egg Harbor]

    Save Barnegat Bay Executive Director Britta Wenzel says the live camera will be an educational tool.

    “Save Barnegat Bay has been working to restore and protect the beautiful Barnegat Bay and its ecosystem for 45 years,” she said. “We want to build on our success by bringing nature into your living room and classrooms around the estuary.”

    The possibility of a live camera perched above a nest would not even be a consideration if the bald eagle had not made such a dramatic comeback in New Jersey. 

    Almost eradicated by the pesticide DDT, which was banned in 1973, a survey found only one nest in the state in 1970, remaining the same into the early 1980s, according to the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey (CWF).

    The population began to regenerate due to the DDT ban combined with restoration efforts by state biologists. In 2015, a CWF survey documented 150 active pairs and 199 young produced.

    In August 2007, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed the bald eagle from the endangered species list. The raptor remains protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Act.

    CWF currently streams the “EagleCam” at a nest on Duke Farms in Hillsborough.

    Anyone interested in fundraising can join Save Barnegat Bay’s “team” by sharing the charity challenge link with their friends beginning on April 20, Wenzel said. 

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