From just a single nesting pair in the 1970s and 1980s to more than 220 as of 2021, bald eagles are one of New Jersey's greatest wildlife management success stories.

That includes an accelerated increase in their numbers in the past decade alone, according to Kathy Clark, supervising zoologist and certified wildlife biologist for the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife Endangered & Nongame Species Program.

However, the habitat of these fowl is changing, just as the human contingent of the Garden State continues to evolve.

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In the early part of their recovery, most new bald eagle nests were found in rural areas and among farmland, Clark said, especially in South Jersey along the Delaware Bay.

That's not the case anymore.

"As the population has increased, we are finding them nesting statewide — in fact, they're in all 21 counties now — and there are more pairs that are nesting in suburban and urban situations," Clark said.

Living amongst more people can have its advantages for these birds, according to Clark.

"Some of these older trees that make good nest trees are actually in residential areas, so that can actually work out well," she said.

But there exists a heightened potential for disturbances. These are big specimens, Clark said, but they are vulnerable and need their space, and mostly want to be left alone.

So manmade threats — which make up almost all of the most severe bald eagle dangers, according to Clark — need to be watched and managed as closely as possible.

These include electrocution, vehicle strikes, rodenticides, and lead poisoning.

Not all can be tackled equally easily. For instance, the Division of Fish & Wildlife works with New Jersey's power companies to install equipment that can reduce electrocution risk.

"Some of the other things are going to take more time to help solve, like outlawing certain kinds of rodenticides because they make their way into other species' populations," Clark said.

Know the signs and signals of a bald eagle habitat, Clark said. If they are perched along a lake or other body of water, it's likely they are hunting ... and again, should be left to their own devices.

"Enjoying eagles is a great thing," she said. "You do want to keep your distance from eagles. If they're perched in a particular area, it's because there's something there that they need."

Injured bald eagles can and should be reported to the NJDEP hotline, 877-WARN-DEP.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com

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NJ beach tags guide for summer 2022

We're coming up on another summer at the Jersey Shore! Before you get lost in the excitement of sunny days on the sand, we're running down how much seasonal/weekly/daily beach tags will cost you, and the pre-season deals you can still take advantage of!

These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:

Every NJ city and town's municipal tax bill, ranked

A little less than 30 cents of every $1 in property taxes charged in New Jersey support municipal services provided by cities, towns, townships, boroughs and villages. Statewide, the average municipal-only tax bill in 2021 was $2,725, but that varied widely from more than $13,000 in Tavistock to nothing in three townships. In addition to $9.22 billion in municipal purpose taxes, special taxing districts that in some places provide municipal services such as fire protection, garbage collection or economic development levied $323.8 million in 2021.