Life Science Blog

Eagle-watching On The Hudson

Just a one hour train ride from New York City, eagles abound. There’s something so soothing about watching these majestic birds. For city dweller Keith Michael of the West Village, […]

February 22, 2010

Just a one hour train ride from New York City, eagles abound.

There’s something so soothing about watching these majestic birds. For city dweller Keith Michael of the West Village, it’s a nice antidote to his detail-oriented job as a production manager: “You look across the river and there’s a bald eagle there and you can’t do anything about that except look at it.”

Whether you’re a veteran bird-watcher or newbie, nobody cares. Everyone just wants to see a bird.

These days, odds are in your favor. “The big count last winter was two hundred and twenty eagles one morning,” eagle educator Christopher Letts told a group of enthusiasts early on a cold Saturday morning at Georges Island County Park in Westchester County.

A few decades ago, bald eagles were in serious danger of going extinct due to excessive DDT in the environment. It was banned in 1972,  and the eagles are now back in droves. In the summer of 2007, they were even removed from the federal list of endangered wildlife and species.

Now, eagles come down to the Hudson from Canada to spend winters in New York finding mates and building nests.

“This is the teen center. This is where the eagles get together, mix, mingle, and find out who likes who — that’s tremendously important,” Letts explained.

Today, it’s less like a mall and more like an abandoned arctic village. It is a particularly cold day, and there aren’t quite as many eagles around this year due to the mild winter up north. But there are still more than enough to virtually guarantee a sighting — and a fellow watcher will surely lend you her scope.

[Contributor: Katie Peek]
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About the Author

Olivia Koski was born in the desert and raised in the mountains. After studying physics in college, she earned a living manipulating light for an aerospace company. She abandoned saguaros, pine trees and lasers for the skyscrapers of New York City, where she is studying the fine art of manipulating words, sound and images as a journalist. Visit her website at http://www.oliviakoski.com or follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/oliviakoski

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