Winter 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.
Photo courtesy of Steve Hall, Adirondack Wildlife Refuge