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Observers rapt as bald eagles flourish in New Jersey

 Eagles feed their young in New Jersey in this photo from Dr. Kumar Patel, a nest observer for the state's Division of Fish and Wildllfe.

Eagles feed their young in New Jersey in this photo from Dr. Kumar Patel, a nest observer for the state's Division of Fish and Wildllfe.

While many are celebrating Sunday with Easter eggs, baby eaglets are breaking out of their shells in New Jersey. The newest generation is another in the continuing comeback of bald eagles on the Garden State.

About 150 nesting pairs of bald eagles are under observation in the state, said biologist Kathy Clark with the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife.

“Last year we had a record, banner year where over 200 chicks fledged. So that was a real milestone for us,” she said. “This winter was a pretty harsh one, so I’m not sure that we’re going to have that kind of success.”

Since the 1970s when the population was close to extinction, state preservation and restoration programs have brought eagles back to nearly every county in New Jersey.

“About half the population is associated with the Delaware Bayshore so Atlantic, Cumberland, and Cape May Counties do have the greater density but they really are statewide,” Clark said. “They’re using inland lakes as well as the tidal rivers.”

The eaglets depend entirely on their parents for their first 12 weeks until the fledglings take flight. They tend to stay in their nests for several weeks after that.

But getting to close to the nests can disturb the adults and cause the eaglets harm, Clark said.

“The best way to observe eagles is staying in your car and watching with a telescope or binoculars,” she said.

Or you can check out the live camera feed of a nest on the Duke Farms website.

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