The Eaglets — What’s Next in the Nest

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 7.13.52 AMWritten By: Jim Wright for Duke Farms and Conserve Wildlife Foundation

The eaglets have been in the nest eight weeks now, and in the final phase of their preparations for learning to fly and leaving the nest.012

As you can see on the Eagle Cam, they are almost as big as their dad now, and getting increasingly active.

We checked in with Larissa Smith,  biologist for Conserve Wildlife Foundation, to get her thoughts on what to expect next.

Larissa is in charge of several projects, from leading the effort to monitor dozens of  Bald Eagle nests in New Jersey to running  CWF’s citizen-science project to learn more about  the Duke Farms eaglets’ diet.

What should viewers look for as the eaglets enter the home stretch.

I just watched a feeding session and the adult is still feeding the chicks, though they are now getting impatient and will lean in and peck at the prey and any food that is left in the nest [like they did this morning]. Continue reading

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Bald Eagle Update for Week of May 23

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 6.51.07 AMThe  eaglets are now approximately eight weeks old.  Both are  females, banded two weeks ago.

The photo above, featuring one of the girls exercising her wings, was taken this morning.

The young birds stay in the nest for approximately 10 to 12 weeks, until they are large enough and strong enough to leave (fledge). This is typically toward late June.

Click the Duke Farms logo at right for our home page.

Tuesday: Larissa Smith of Conserve Wildlife Foundation explains what to expect next in the Bald Eagle nest.

Wednesday: Farm Market Recipe of the Week

Thursday:  A new on-line Bald Eagle e-book — by a first-grader.

— Jim Wright

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Don’t Miss Our Free Online Eagle Ebook!

DF eagle e-bookHave you seen Duke Farms’ Bald Eagle free on-line e-book yet? If not, what are you waiting for?

You can view it on any electronic device with Internet access, and you can even hear the pages turn if you have your sound on.  (The e-book was done with the help of the good folks at Conserve Wildlife Foundation.)

You can start here. Or, by clicking the subject below, you can go right to a pertinent chapter (but look around some by flipping the pages, too). Pages may take a few seconds to load.

Bald Eagles and Their Nests

The New Eagle Cam

The Nestlings

A Season at the Nest (my favorite)

— Jim Wright

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Farm Market Recipe of The Week

Stop by our farm market this week on Thursday between 3 and 8 pm. While you’re here, stop by the Wolgast Tree Farm and Apiary tent and check out their buckwheat honey.

Buckwheat honey has a dark color and strong flavor, and can be paired with a fresh goat cheese or roasted grapefruit. There are other practical uses for it as well. This recipe showcases how it can be perfect for sweetening without overpowering the other ingredients.

granola bar

Buckwheat Honey Granola Bars
(Dairy and gluten free)

1 cup raw buckwheat grouts
1 cup gluten free rolled oats
1 cup unsulfered unsweetened coconut
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup raw buckwheat honey
1 cup finely chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Almond extract

Mix buckwheat, coconut, nuts and seeds. Heat honey, apricots, and oil together until it simmers, turn off and add cinnamon, salt, and extracts. Pour over dry mix and stir. Line a baking pan with wax paper and spread evenly. Bake at 300F for 15 mins. Stir and press firmly into even thickness. Bake another 15 minutes or until edges turn slightly brown. Let cool until room temperature. Cut and refrigerate.

Wolgast Tree Farm and Apiary is just one of many vendors in our Duke Farms Farm to Table Market. They are a family-run, River-Friendly Certified Farm and Apiary located in Somerset, New Jersey. 

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An Interview with Lesson Plan Winner Lauren Kurzius

Lesson plan winner and Manville Teacher Kauren KurziusWritten By: Jim Wright for Duke Farms and Conserve Wildlife Foundation

The winner of the 2016 Lesson Plan Contest, sponsored by Duke Farms and Conserve Wildlife Foundation is Lauren Kurzius, an eighth-grade teacher at the Alexander Batcho Intermediate School in Manville, N.J.

In a recent e-mail interview, and Lauren explained all — from how she came up with the lesson plan to the most important thing it teaches.

What grades and courses do you teach?

I teach 8th grade life science, Pre-veterinaIMG_0219ry Medicine (online though The Virtual High School, Junior/Senior level course).

How long have you been a teacher?

I have been teaching for 14 years.

Always been your goal?

When I started college, I wanted to be a doctor. I was pre-med for a while.  I loved anatomy and physiology.

But then I took a comparative anatomy course and just loved working with all different types of life. Not just human life. I thought, I can do this.  I can teach this. This is cool.  All forms of life are inspiring for different reasons.

Continue reading

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Lesson Plan Winner: The Case of the Very Creative Teacher

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Written By: Jim Wright for Duke Farms and Conserve Wildlife Foundation

The caper was fishy from the get-go. After all, it involved a koi pond in Hillsborough, N.J., and it existed only on computer.

The crime? Someone was swiping residents from Mr. Richardson’s pond.

The detectives assigned to the finny felony: 17  very smart students. Could they  use their Sherlockian skills of deduction to solve this murky mystery?

Elementary? Not by a long shot.Screen Shot 2016-05-010

These were eighth-graders  from the Alexander Batcho Intermediate School in Manville, N.J. —  just a few flaps of a Bald Eagle’s wings across Route 206 from Duke Farms — and they were ready to get to work. Continue reading

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Nest Update, Week of May 15

_MG_2070The  eaglets are now approximately seven weeks old.  The young birds stay in the nest for approximately 10 to 12 weeks, until they are large enough and strong enough to leave (fledge). This is typically toward late June.

Above and below, we thought we’d share a few photos of Mom and Dad taken the day of the banding last week. They do all the work, and E41 and E42 get all the oohs and ahhhs.

(The male is banded, and female has slight feather damage on a right-wing primary.)

Click the Duke Farms logo at right for our home page.

Later this week: All about Eagle Cam Lesson Plan winner Lauren Kurzius and her cool “whodunit” for students — suspects are several birds of prey, including eagles.

— Jim Wright

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Eye-Level Photos of Eaglets in Nest

DF_E41+E42 in nest_1628John Heilferty, the state wildlife biologist who climbed the nest tree on Monday and retrieved the the two chicks, was nice enough to share three of the photos he took of the birds in the nest. I have also posted the photos here as closeups of the chicks.

The eaglet  with a little white fuzz atop her head  is E41. The other is E42. (Click thumbnails to enlarge.)

My interview with John is here.  The Eagle Cam video of John at the nest is here.

— Jim Wright

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The Big Banding, Up-close

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Meet E42 (Click any photo to enlarge it.)

Written and Photographed By Jim Wright
for Duke Farms and Conserve Wildlife Foundation

Watching a young Bald Eagle up-close is an amazing event, one experienced by relatively few people in the wild.

But to see two huge eagle chicks, as they live and breathe — chicks that you have been watching daily ever since they were arrived as  eggs back in February — is extraordinary.

These aren’t just “any” eaglets. You know the history of the parents, and the history of the nest. They are part of an extended family that you watch from afar from February to June each year.

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When the chicks were newly hatched.

Just six weeks ago, these two gawky nestlings were little fluffs of cotton, and now …  it is amazing what Mother Nature and a pair of dedicated parents in nurturing mode can do.

But I get ahead of myself.

The goal of this post is to give folks who watch the Eagle Cam an idea of what it was like to witness the banding in person and to share some behind-the-scenes information and observations. Continue reading

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A Second Batch of Photos From Today’s Banding

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More shots from today’s banding (with quick captions)…

— Jim Wright

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