Saturday, January 30, 2021

Bald Eagle Viewing in Winter

Bald eagleWinter is a great time to view bald eagles in New York State. Viewing from a safe distance and at planned observation sites can offer an exhilarating and memorable experience. Wintering eagles begin arriving in December and concentrations peak in January and February. Most are heading back to their nests by mid-March.

The Hudson River, the Upper Delaware River watershed, and sections of the St. Lawrence River are great places to view bald eagles in the winter. DEC maintains two well-marked viewing areas in the Mongaup Valley on the Rio and Mongaup Falls reservoirs.

The following tips will help you to have the best possible experience:

  • Use binoculars or spotting scopes instead of trying to get a little closer.
  • Don’t do anything to try to make the bird fly.
  • Respect private property, and avoid restricted areas.
  • Scan the tree line for eagles that are perched in the tree tops.
  • Look overhead for eagles soaring high in the sky.
  • Arrive early (7 a.m.- 9 a.m.) or stay late (4 p.m. – 5 p.m.), when eagles are most active.
  • Be patient – this is the key to successful viewing.

Warning: Harassing, disturbing, or injuring a bald eagle is illegal.

Photo courtesy of Steve Hall, Adirondack Wildlife Refuge

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Information attributed to NYSDEC is taken from press releases and news announcements from New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation.

11 Responses

  1. Phil Fitzpatrick says:

    I am no ornithologist, but I have the idea that it really is very important to follow your guidelines because it takes an eagle a great deal of energy to get airborne. So it is hurtful to the bird to make it change its perch. The eagle needs a good chance of catching food as its reason to fly.

    Thank you for your article.

  2. JT says:

    My son hit a deer with the car a few weeks ago. We got a tag for the deer and I processed it for the freezer. I took the carcass up to the edge of one of my fields and put a trail camera on it. Got some nice pictures of a couple of bald eagles feeding on it. Have done this in the past and have gotten pictures of coyotes, foxes, ravens and one time a red tailed hawk, but never bald eagles. Was pretty cool to see. We often see them perching on trees below the house on the Grasse River. I did not know they would be interested in a deer carcass, learned something new.

  3. JohnL says:

    Onondaga Lake in Syracuse is a great place to see large numbers of winter eagles. The water treatent plant at the south side of the lake provides a lot of open water for them to find food. Good viewing, from a distance, is possible from the back parking lots of the Destiny Mall. My wife and I have seen as many as 50 – 75 eagles at one time there in past years. Am planning another viewing trip this coming week. Check this out.

  4. Charlie Stehlin says:

    There’s a pair of bald eagles, one of them immature, that have been flying over where I live downstate north of Albany for the past some years. In past trips by train down to NYC, bald eagles I saw aplenty flying low over that historic course the Hudson River. It’s a good thing that smart people put up a stink some decades back to ban DDT….else there’d be no eagles left. If we could just get rid of all the other poisons! To think how much more wildlife would be spared untimely, and oft-times, cruel, deaths!

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