PSE&G Protects Bald Eagle Nest
June 2021
Building and enhancing the energy grid, while at the same time protecting the surrounding ecosystem, is a delicate balancing act. EEI’s member companies go above and beyond to excel at both. 

Last winter, while planning the Roseland-Pleasant Valley electric transmission upgrade project, Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G) faced a dilemma involving a national symbol of America – the bald eagle. 

A pair of bald eagles had been nesting on one of the electric company’s 90-year-old lattice towers for more than six years. The location was ideal for the eagles, as it was high enough to keep them away from predators while giving them access to food. However, the lattice tower was being replaced with a monopole structure with no flat surfaces to accommodate the nest. 

PSE&G consulted its biologists and worked with its partners, including the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Endangered and Non-game Species Program, the Migratory Bird Office of the US Fish & Wildlife Service, and wildlife biologists from EDM International, to design a nest platform that could be attached to the new monopole structure to give the eagles a new home. 

The work had to be completed within a few months, before the eagles were expected to return in January 2021 to breed. The PSE&G team carefully extracted the nest and lowered it with a crane and spent the next several weeks demolishing the tower. Contractors conducted strength tests on the nest platform, and, just a few weeks before their deadline, it was time to put their plan into action. 

PSE&G brought the nest out of storage, placed it in the 5x5 foot platform they built, and bolted it in place at the top of the new structure. In mid-February, PSE&G saw signs of success – when they viewed the camera that was placed near the nest, they could see eagles placing sticks on the new nest and discovered eggs had been laid. In early April, PSE&G was thrilled to find out that the eggs hatched, marking the first time that eagles successfully used a nest platform in New Jersey. 

In May, PSE&G carefully lowered two of the eaglets down so New Jersey biologists and a veterinarian could collect health data and blood samples and banded the birds for future research.