HOPATCONG, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — More than 300 bald eagles call New Jersey home, some of the newest birds live in Hopatcong where construction is happening awfully close to the nest.

A bald eagle and her mate built their nest in 2014. Ian Witter told CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock that he recalls seeing them last year at a family BBQ.

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“We saw the eagle fly right through. Everything stopped and were like, is that an eagle?” he said.

Now, there are more. The pair nested and had two, maybe three new eagles.

“I hope they stay. I think they will,” Witter said.

Laurie Youmans said she never saw an eagle growing up, but now they live right across the street. She’s made it her personal mission to look after her friends. Especially now.

A developer has plans to replace an old kids camp with condos. The land is right next to the national treasures. In January she recorded videos as the land was cleared.

“It’s massive and extremely noisy,” she said.

The female apparently didn’t like it one bit.

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“She would swoop down and attack the machine,” she said.

U.S Fish and Wildlife permitted the January clearing in alignment with the Bald & Golden Eagle Protection Action, essentially giving the okay as long as the nest wasn’t disturbed.

Since then there has been no noise, and no construction.

The developer Atkins Realty Group told CBS2 they voluntarily agreed to suspend construction until the eagles leave their nest which will likely happen in late June or early July.

“We don’t want to stop people from doing business, but these are eagles and we need to protect them,” Robin De Lorenzo said.

Residents said they are optimistic that Atkins Realty Group will do its part to ensure the bald eagles always have a home in Hopatcong.

When development starts up again, the nest will have to be monitored for disturbance by Atkins who must submit an annual report of human and eagle activities to U.S. Fish and Wildlife.


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