Watching bald eagles in New York has never been better and here are the best places to do it.
If you’re an avid bird watcher and you happen to be close to New York, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has made it their mission to help you find bald eagles.
According to the DEC:
In 1976 there was only one pair of bald eagles nesting in New York. Conservation efforts have increased that number to 173 pairs in 2009. Bald eagles mate for life – which can be over 30 years.
Nests are reused and added to each year, growing to over six feet across, eight feet deep and weighing hundreds of pounds
Adult specimens of our national bird have a white head and tail, brown body, and a bright yellow bill and feet. Immature bald eagles are a chocolate brown, but lack the white head and tail.
Eagles are partial to heavily wooded areas near water. Tall trees for perching are a must and since they love a fish dinner make sure to scope out river islands for sightings of birds enjoying a meal.
Winter is maybe the best time to look for eagles. Eagles wintering in New York start to arrive in the month of December with peak concentrations in January and February. The most active birds will move in the morning between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. and again in the afternoon between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Here are the best places in the state to start your search and satisfy your desire to see the majestic bald eagle:
- Margaret Lewis Norrie Point State Park
Constitution Island from North Dock, West Point
Iona Island State Park
- Riverfront Park, Peekskill
Charles Point/China Pier, Peekskill
George’s Island Park parking area, Montrose
Upper Delaware River watershed:
- Mongaup Reservoir
Upper reaches of the St. Lawrence River:
- Brockville Narrows
- Cape Vincent, New York
- Massena, New York
Bald eagles are still listed as a threatened species in New York, despite restoration efforts and the fact that they can live as long as 30 years or more in the wild. Once a pair has chosen a nesting area, they will use it for the rest of their lives.
Distribution of eagles has increased from sporadic in the state in the 1980s to many confirmed and probable nesting pairs throughout New York. Bald eagle restoration began in 1976, and in 2010 the state had 173 breeding pairs that produced 244 young.
With high hopes, New York, the Empire State, will continue to monitor and preserve our national symbol so that future generations may see this majestic bird flying the skies of the state.