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March 13, 2014

The number of bald eagles is soaring, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection, with the annual Midwinter Eagle Survey in 2013 having counted 297 of them -- 264 in South Jersey and 33 in the northern part of the state.

There were 148 territorial pairs, up from 135 in 2012. Of these, 119 pairs actively nested, meaning they laid eggs. Ninety-six nests produced 176 young.

Peregrine falcons are also experiencing record productivity rates. There are 26 pair, with 24 nests having produced 57 young for a success rate of 92 percent. These nests are often found on bridge towers, watertowers, and high buildings.

The DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife has also documented 542 osprey nests, which are found primarily in coastal areas. The heaviest populations are found around Barnegat Bay, Great Bay, Cumberland County’s Maurice River marshes, the Avalon-Stone Harbor area, Raritan Bay, and the bays around the Wildwoods.

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