Union County News

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Urban Legends Exposed: City-Dwelling Peregrine Falcons Offer a “Rare Wildlife Reality Show” in Union County

Credits: ucnj.org
Credits: ucnj.org

Union County, NJ – Thanks to a new partnership between the Union County Freeholder Board and the nonprofit Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, students, scientists and other wildlife enthusiasts all over the world will have more opportunities to study a pair of rare peregrine falcons that have made their nest on the roof of the historic 17-story Union County Courthouse Tower, located in the bustling center of midtown Elizabeth.

Peregrine falcons have been nesting on the Courthouse Tower every year since 2006. In 2016, Union County began offering a free livestream “Falcon Cam” after installing two cameras inside and outside of the nest. This winter a third camera has been added to provide a scenic view, and audio will be available later this year.

“This year our Falcon Cam will become a new collaborative effort between the County and Conserve Wildlife, with assistance from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen. “This partnership makes Union County a premier site for falcon observation and research in New Jersey. The result is a truly enriching experience that brings the message of environmental stewardship throughout Union County and beyond.”

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The two current occupants of the nest have spent the winter “pair bonding.” Bird watchers who visit the Falcon Cam at the right time can catch sight of the two falcons meeting at the nest, bowing to each other and communicating with gentle sounds called “ee-chupping.”  

“While peregrine falcons were completely gone east of the Mississippi River just a few decades ago, this magnificent bird – the fastest animal in the world – has recovered dramatically in recent years,” said Conserve Wildlife Foundation executive director David Wheeler. “Thanks to Union County, students and New Jerseyans of all ages can enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at this rare wildlife reality show unfolding near tens of thousands of people in downtown Elizabeth.” 

In winter the prime time for viewing is early morning. Activity also tends to occur mid-afternoon. If the pair breeds, the nest will be occupied almost constantly until the chicks fledge.

The Courthouse Tower hosts one of only two falcon cams in New Jersey. The other falcon cam is in Jersey City.

In addition to providing a unique learning opportunity for students of all ages, the Union County Falcon Cam provides essential information that helps promote the continued recovery of peregrine falcons in the eastern U.S.

 The cameras help biologists determine when the chicks are old enough to be banded and enable observers to identify the falcons based on bands placed on their legs at birth. The bands indicate the age of each falcon and where they were born. That information can help scientists detect trends in range of habitat and choice of nesting locations.

The leg bands helped biologists to take note of some recent changes in the  population of the Union County nest.

The first female to occupy the nest was from Jersey City. She remained there until last year, when a new and younger female from New York City gained possession of the coveted spot. Her leg band indicated that she was born at the Throgs Neck Bridge in 2010.

“Peregrine falcons prefer to nest in a high spot on the face of a cliff where they can forage for prey, and apparently the Courthouse Tower fits the bill,” Bergen explained. “It is the tallest building in Union County.”

Early this year, a third female replaced the New York City female. This new occupant does not have a leg band.

The first male to occupy the nest was banded and came to Union County from Connecticut. The current male is unbanded.

The free Falcon Cam livestream is available on the Union County website at ucnj.org/falcon.

Union County has also provided a link to the Falcon Cam on the Conserve Wildlife website, conservewildlifenj.org. Conserve Wildlife will use the Falcon Cam in its STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs in local schools, and for programming at the County’s Trailside Nature and Science Center in Mountainside.

Conserve Wildlife Foundation is also offering individual and corporate sponsorships of public outreach and environmental education in Union County centered on the Falcon Cam. CWF seeks to provide educational programs, lesson plans, curriculum development, and educational field trips for schools within Union County.

For more information about Conserve Wildlife's individual and corporate sponsorships, call 609-984-6012 or use the online form at ConserveWildlifeNJ.org.

For quick links to all Union County programs related to conservation and sustainability, visit ucnj.org/green-connection.  


About CWF: Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey (CWF) is a private, independent non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of New Jersey’s endangered and threatened wildlife and the habitats they depend on. We carry out our mission by researching and managing rare animal species, restoring habitat, educating New Jersey’s residents, and engaging volunteers in our conservation projects. Since 1990, CWF scientists and educators have helped conserve and protect a variety of at-risk species of wildlife in New Jersey, the most densely populated state in the nation, while reaching millions of people through outreach, educational programming, and wildlife webcams.

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Light it Up Blue, Union

March 24, 2018

UNION, NJ - The Township of Union is asking residents to join the kick off to Autism Awareness Month on April 2 with the "Light it up Blue" campaign for autism.

Every April, the Township along with local merchants and hundreds of thousands of landmarks and homes around the world, participate in the campaign.

The Township encourages all residents and businesses to use blue ...

Union High School Class of 1998 Planning 20th Reunion

UNION, NJ - Has it really been almost 20 years since you graduated from high school?

The Union High School class of 1998 will be celebrating their 20 Year Reunion on July 13 and are looking for former classmates to help spread the word.

The event will be at the Galloping Hill Golf Course, 3 Golf Dr, Kenilworth.  Tickets are $105.00 per person, which includes dinner and ...

Scavenger Hunt in Union Center

UNION, NJ - Can you solve the puzzle?

Join us on a scavenger hunt throughout Union Center on Saturday, March 31, from 12:00 - 4:00 p.m.  Stop by the Special Improvement District's 'Welcome Station', located at 1000A Stuyvesant Ave, for your scavenger hunt map, first egg clue and more!

Additional Stops for more clues:
Norma's Flowers Magic Fountain Union ...

Union High School's February Female Athlete of the Month: Lacey Beall

March 23, 2018

UNION, NJ – Union High School senior Lacey Beall, a member of the school’s bowling team, has been selected February’s Female Athlete of the Month.

What’s your favorite part of being a high school athlete?. 

The Team, it is like one big family. Traveling all over New Jersey every Saturday morning and spending the afternoon celebrating our win. If we do not win, ...

Union High School's February Male Athlete of the Month: Elijah Waldron

UNION, NJ – Union High School senior Elijah Waldron, a member of the school’s wrestling team, has been selected February’s Male Athlete of the Month.

What’s your favorite part of being a high school athlete?. 

I love the team aspect of it.  Most of my closest friends come from wrestling, and I perform better when I have to do it for a team. 

Who is ...

Upcoming Events


Mon, March 26, 6:00 PM

Vauxhall Public Library, Vauxhall

Hilton Readers Book Discussion Group: "The Other ...

Arts & Entertainment


Tue, March 27, 11:00 AM

Vauxhall Public Library, Vauxhall

Pre-K Interactive Learning Time: “Puzzles, ...

Arts & Entertainment


Tue, March 27, 2:00 PM

Union Public Library, Union

Tuesdays at 2 Movie: "Downsizing"

Arts & Entertainment


Thu, March 29, 3:00 PM

Vauxhall Public Library, Vauxhall

Tween Make It @ Your Library: "Butterfly"

Arts & Entertainment

Information on Parking and Traffic for Saturday's 'March for Our Lives' Event

March 23, 2018

UNION, NJ – It is anticipated that several hundred people or more will participate in the Union County March for Our Lives event on Saturday morning in Union.

Students, teachers, parents, clergy and public officials from all over Union County will be walking from Burnet Middle School to Town Hall in an anti-gun violence march.

Parking will be available in the following ...

Springfield Fire Department Delivers Baby on West I-78

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - On March 20, 2018 at 8:14 a.m. the Springfield Fire Department was dispatched to Route 78 Westbound near milepost 50.2 for a report of a woman in labor on the side of the road.  

Captain Mastroeni (Unit 2) & Chief Palumbo (Unit 1) were the first units to arrive on scene, and quickly recognized that the woman would be unable to make it to the hospital in time for ...

Margaret Salisbury of Union Receives Women of Excellence Award

GARWOOD, NJ – Union resident Margaret Salisbury was one of several Union County women honored with a 2018 Women of Excellence Award at an event Friday night.

The event, hosted by the Commission on the Status of Women and sponsored by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, honors women in different fields.  Salisbury received a Lifetime Achievement Award.

In addition to ...

Rummage Sale

March 11, 2018

UNION, NJ - A rummage sale is scheduled for Saturday, March 17, to benefit Union Abroad's Trip to Iceland.

The sale will be held at Union High School, 2350 N. Third Street, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  Shoppers should enter through the "Rock" to Cafeteria A.


Man Dies from South Orange House Fire on Sunday

March 18, 2018

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - A man has died from a house fire on Warwick Avenue in South Orange on Sunday afternoon, stated Thomas Fennelly, Essex County Chief Assistant Prosecutor.

The fire, which began about 2 p.m. was contained by about 5 p.m., and required mutual aid from fire departments in neighboring towns, according to firefighters at the scene.

UC Tech Student Volunteers Put Fun and Games to Work for Special Needs Learners

March 22, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Earlier this month, a group of 51 students in grades 9 to 11 from the Teacher Education Academy at UC TECH staged an indoor carnival for special needs learners. More than 140 participants from the community attended the event and enjoyed plinko, corn hole, dance revolution, hula hoop activities, a DJ, prizes and more.

UC TECH is part of the Union County ...

AARP Driver Safety Class at Union Public Library

The AARP Driver Safety Course teaches valuable defensive driving strategies and provides a refresher of the rules of the road by trained volunteer. Since 1979, the course has helped more than 15 million drivers learn research-based tips to adapt their driving to compensate for physical and cognitive changes that may occur with aging. Plus, you may qualify for a multi-year automobile ...

Check Out BCB Community Bank's High Rate CDs

Get the most out of your savings with BCB Community Bank's high rate CD.

Check out BCB's 18-month CD interest rate.  Invest early and watch your money soar.  For more information, just visit or call your local BCB branch today in Union, Maplewood or South Orange:

Union Branch

2000 Morris Avenue
Union, NJ 07083

Maplewood Branch

156 ...

Union County Celebrates Arbor Day 2018 with Free Trees for Schools

In recognition of Arbor Day 2018, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is once again partnering with the Union County Shade Tree Advisory Board to sponsor the annual Arbor Day Tree Planting Program, which provides free trees for participating schools.

“The Arbor Day tree planting program is a Union County tradition that provides students with important hands-on lessons about the ...



AtlantiCast: Episode 13

On this episode of AtlantiCast, new clinical studies in the fields of cardiology and immunotherapy, national and statewide recognitions for Atlantic Health System medical centers and the inaugural AtlantiCast Collab Challenge!


Queen Mary and the Cruiser

Queen Mary and the Cruiser by David A. Thomas and Patrick Holmes (Naval Institute Press, 1997)

“Had the forenoon watch and after eating went out onto the fo'c'sle. Just arrived at the top of the ladder by the PO's heads when the wave hit me---waist high---and knocked me over. Looking astern---through the bulkhead door which was open, saw the stern of a ship sticking up out of ...

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House, 1965)


In Cold Blood is, quite simply, the grand-daddy of true crime writing, dubbed by Capote, himself, as the first non-fiction novel (although Norman Mailer argued the point when he published The Executioner's Song in 1979.) The conditions under which I read In Cold Blood for the first time were pretty weird, which was another ...

'Trying' explores age, youth and points of history in poignant production

‘Trying’ explores youth, age and points of history in poignant production

By Liz Keill

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The George Street Playhouse presents an engrossing, two-character play based on the real life of Francis Biddle, former Attorney General.

Biddle, a Harvard educated lawyer, served under Franklin Roosevelt and later Harry Truman during the Nuremberg Tribunal. His ...

The Role of Meal Replacements in Weight Loss

March 20, 2018

Obesity is at epidemic proportions in the United States and in other developed and developing countries. The prevalence of obesity is increasing not only in adults, but also in children and adolescents. We all know that obesity is a significant risk factor for various chronic illnesses, most importantly heart disease and diabetes, but also cancer and osteoarthritis, liver and kidney disease, ...

Travels Update - Hillary Clinton’s Speech Moved to a Larger Facility for March 29

March 24, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK – Rutgers University’s Eagleton Institute of Politics will host former presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton on March 29.

Originally scheduled for the College Avenue Gym, the event, entitled “A Conversation with the Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton,” has been moved to the Rutgers Athletic Center “due to the ...

Commemoration of Jay Kielwasser, Animal Control Officer

March 16, 2018

UNION, NJ – A commemoration of the late Jay Kielwasser's work as Union’s Animal Control Officer took place at Wednesday evening’s Board of Health meeting.

Board President Jackie Carter said Kielwasser, who passed away in April, was the first Animal Control officer appointed by the Board of Health. 

“You really don’t know how someone ...

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