Taking in a beautiful summer day on the calm and serene Delaware River, it seems as if a storm is rolling in.
The sky is clear with a few wispy clouds, but a dark shadow is quickly approaching. Like a flyby on opening day, wings cover the sky and commands attention. It didn’t take too long to realize this was no other than our nation’s most coveted specie; the Bald Eagle.
Sightings of the Bald Eagle are scarce across the country although this has not always been the case. Nests were fairly standard with a Bald Eagle population nearing an estimated 100,000 in the 1700’s but due to various factors (90% human-related…shocker) sightings became increasingly rare.
Until the Bald Eagle act of 1940, the population of these majestic birds had dropped dramatically. Around this time in the 40’s, DDT and other pesticides forced reproduction numbers to all-time lows. By the 1960’s, any Bald Eagle sightings along the Delaware River was fairly remarkable.
According to the Delaware River Basin Commission, after the Government forced restrictions on DDT and other chemicals, the Bald Eagle population bounced back, particularly along the Delaware River.
Today, “The 120-mile stretch of the Delaware River from Hancock, N.Y. to the Delaware Water Gap is one of the largest and most important inland bald eagle wintering habitats in the Northeastern United States.”
Although the majority of nests are found in south jersey, River Towns local wants raise awareness of the few remarkable nests we have in our area. These three nests are located on public property, often requiring a short hike. Click here to view maps from the New Jersey Bald Eagle Project. Please respect these areas and make sure not to disturb them.
1. Bulls Island
A favorite spot on the weekend for boating, tubing, fishing and community fun, Bulls Island is a definite must-see for River lovers. Located near Stockton, NJ this park includes a boat launch, a small beach, and a remarkable suspension bridge.
To view the Bald Eagle nest, you will need to park in the first parking lot where you will notice other cyclists preparing for the toe-path. Proceed towards Stockton, NJ for about a quarter mile on the toe path, walk with your head up! It can be easy to miss. Since this location is tough to describe as there are no specific landmarks, you’ll need some local knowledge. Approaching bulls island on Route 29, keep an eye out for the newly placed signs along the high way on the river-side instructing “No Stopping or Standing” near a wide shoulder. These signs were recently introduced to prevent mass amounts of parking along the high way that was occurring after the initial discovery of this nest. When you notice these signs from the toe path – you’re almost there.
2. Lambertville Tower
This nest in Lambertville, NJ referred to as the “Lambertville Tower” is a little more tricky to find, but completely worth it.
In 2016, a bald eagle’s nest appeared atop a PSE&G transmission Tower.
Claudia Rocca, a bald eagle activist, noted that she does not want to give the exact address of this nest to avoid “vandalism or interference.” Let us know if you find other any signs of Bald Eagle nests in the Lambertville/New Hope area, but keep it on the down low.
3. Milford Tower
After some heavy storms back in March 2016, the noted Bald Eagle nest in Milford, NJ became destroyed. The community feared the Bald Eagles were harmed or would not return. To the excitement of their small-town community, local Chris Bousquet had insight. Chris “spotted the pair carrying sticks in their talons, not too far from the old nest, and setting up a new nest in a residential area close to the shore.” As conservation efforts are again in play, the location of these nests are in secrecy. Fortunately, Milford is a great place for an adventure!
Respect these majestic birds and their space just as they respect ours. Enjoy these nests from afar and do not disturb their habitat in any sense.
Check out the Delaware River Town Local explore map for more local fun and knowledge!
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