This photo was taken April 29 of a bald eagle in Ocean City overlooking the causeway leading to the Corsons Inlet Bridge in Strathmere. There is speculation it may be the same eagle spotted in Sea Isle City. (Photo courtesy of George Savastano)

By Donald Wittkowski

One of Sea Isle City’s visitors is missing.

Here’s a description: Piercing eyes, powerful hooked beak, fierce talons, white head, regal plumage and eight-foot wingspan.

The bald eagle was regularly seen several weeks ago while perched on the towering utility poles lining Sea Isle Boulevard, the main entryway to the beach town.

“I would pretty much see him every day,” recalled Sea Isle Councilman J.B. Feeley. “He would usually be out there between 2:30 and 4:30 in the afternoon.”

However, Feeley has not spotted the eagle since late April. He wants to know why the majestic bird has, apparently, vanished.

“At first, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” Feeley said, noting that he was awestruck by the eagle’s presence. “I thought it was great.”

In late April, George Savastano, who serves as the business administrator for both Sea Isle and Ocean City, snapped a photo of a bald eagle sitting on a telephone pole overlooking the causeway that leads to the Corsons Inlet Bridge connecting Ocean City with Strathmere.

“Maybe he’s flying back and forth to Strathmere,” Feeley speculated of the eagle.

No one is sure, though, whether the eagle spotted near the Corsons Inlet Bridge is the same one that had been hanging around Sea Isle.

New Jersey is one of the states where bald eagles have made a remarkable recovery. (Photo courtesy of New Jersey Audubon)

Sea Isle Boulevard is a nearly two-mile-long road that passes through the marshlands of the back bays, seemingly an ideal place for eagles. The birds favor large bodies of water teeming with fish.

Those same marshlands along the boulevard, however, are also the home for ospreys, a migratory shorebird that visits Sea Isle in the spring and summer to make their nests. Ospreys, a raptor also known as a “fish hawk,” could be the reason why Sea Isle’s eagle has disappeared, according to one theory.

Feeley said Sea Isle Mayor Leonard Desiderio told him he believes the aggressive ospreys, determined to protect their nests from intruders, may have driven the eagle away.

“Those ospreys, they can be nasty. Maybe they didn’t like him sitting there,” Feeley said.

Once on the brink of extinction in the contiguous United States, bald eagles have since made a remarkable comeback and are now thriving in New Jersey, among other states.

Chris Neff, a spokesman for the New Jersey Audubon’s Cape May Bird Observatory, called the eagles’ recovery a “great success.”

Meanwhile, Neff suggested that the eagle observed in Sea Isle for weeks before disappearing may return at some point.

“Eagles move about and it may come back,” he said.

It remains unclear whether this particular eagle was a visitor simply passing through or whether it is a denizen of the Jersey Shore.

“There are eagles that move through the state that are actually not residents of the state. And, of course, there are eagles that stay all year round,” Neff explained.