Eagle Eyes

A month for the birds

It’s a good month to be an Eagle. Whether pulling off a climactic upset (see: Super Bowl 52) or just, you know, being the airborne symbol of America, eagles of both the proper noun and original varieties are in the February spotlight, and the latter is thanks to a New Jersey utility initiative.

“A group of our nation’s beloved bald eagles have taken their 18th annual flight” to Salem, N.J., in South Jersey on the eastern banks of the Delaware River, where they are nesting on a Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) transmission tower, the utility said in a February 2 press release. The best part? You can watch them live. “For the first time in this location, the public can watch live online as a new starting line-up of eaglets hatch, thanks to a partnership between New Jersey Audubon and PSE&G,” the company stated. Viewers can stream the PSE&G NJ Audubon Eagle Cam HD feed at eaglecam.njaudubon.org and cheer on each play, from the birds laying eggs to the eaglets hatching and taking their first flight. The feed is shown below:

New Jersey Audubon is a not-for-profit organization that fosters environmental awareness and a conservation ethic among New Jersey’s citizens. The PSE&G NJ Audubon Eagle Cam is the latest in a longstanding partnership founded on an appreciation for nature. Funding for the eagle cam was made possible by a grant from the PSEG Foundation.

“The eagle cam will give millions the opportunity to witness first hand this amazing success story of our national bird’s recovery. This exciting endeavor would not be possible without support from PSE&G,” said Eric Stiles, president and CEO of New Jersey Audubon. “PSE&G has been an important conservation partner of NJ Audubon’s in helping us protect New Jersey wildlife and habitat.”

There are nine PSE&G transmission towers in New Jersey where eagles have previously or are currently nesting. The utility takes steps to protect the birds as well as its electrical equipment. Whenever possible, PSE&G teams modify their work schedules to avoid towers where active nests are present. PSE&G is New Jersey’s oldest and largest regulated gas and electric delivery utility, serving nearly three-quarters of the state’s population. The company is a winner of the ReliabilityOne Award for superior electric system reliability. PSE&G is a subsidiary of Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated (PSEG), a diversified energy company.

Rob Pollock, PSE&G’s senior director of environmental projects and services, said, “We have an excellent partnership with New Jersey Audubon, and we have worked with them on a number of important initiatives to benefit birds and other wildlife here in New Jersey. We are pleased to help share the beauty of these majestic birds with eagle enthusiasts everywhere.”

The recovery of the Bald Eagle in New Jersey is a success story. 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. Thanks to efforts from organizations including NJ Audubon, NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife and Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ, the species is coming back from the brink of extinction. Today, there are more than 150 nesting pairs of bald eagles statewide. Eagles are still on the endangered species list, but by protecting habitat and waterways used by eagles, smart conservation will help to maintain and enhance this species’ recovery.

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