It was so cold today that I can’t believe we actually braved the 25° F temps (with wind chills of about 17°F) to attend Teatown’s Hudson River 6th Annual EagleFest at Croton Point Park (Croton On-Hudson, NY) but we did, and I must say, I am truly glad we did!
Of course, growing up along the banks of the beautiful Hudson River, I have seen many eagles soaring overhead, perched in trees around the shore line of Lake Meahagh in Verplanck, NY and of course floating on the ice drifting down the river. Yet, I was thrilled to attend this event where I learned a few things that I may not have otherwise known about these wonderful birds of prey and our national bird.
First we sat in on an informative lecture (check out a few sound bites from the lecture below) where we learned that the female eagles are usually the largest of the pair. And, did you know the word “Bald” is from the Middle English word balled, meaning shining white. Some of the previous names are American Eagle, White-headed Eagle, and American Fish Eagle. Did you also know that eagles generally take a mate for life; eagles will only separate if after a few years they are not able to have their own eaglets. So how many of you know that eagles do not like to get their wings wet? I knew that, but I can honestly say, I didn’t know the real danger it could pose – if an eagle’s wings get too wet as they dive into water for food it could actually prohibit them from flying. If an eagle’s wings get too wet, they would actually have to swim/paddle to shore (which could be quite a distance) and then hope they can keep warm long enough for their wings to dry out – amazing!
Other interesting activities during the day included an Eagle Exploration Bus Tour, Hudson River Eagles talk by Christopher Letts, and Jonathan Kruk Storyteller (who we seen recently saw at the Knickerbocker Ice Festival) and more!
We took the Eagle Exploration Bus tour which was a two hour tour of the “hot spots” best known for eagle spotting. Funny thing is, my mom called me about 8:30am this morning to tell me to look out my window as there were two eagles sitting on the ice of Lake Meahagh (my backyard) LOL! Maybe next year’s EagleFest should include a trip to Lake Meahagh in Verplanck, NY. Our tour stopped at three well known eagle spotting sites.
1. First we stopped at Croton Boat Ramp at Croton-Harmon Train Station. Here we spotted a young eagle perched in a tree (too far away to get any good pictures unfortunately). Here we also learned that the eagles not only dine on fish, but they will also scavenge for food and are often seen picking at a deer unfortunately killed by the passing trains. The sad fact here is that eagles don’t react fast enough to sounds and/or light and it is estimated that approximately 2-10 eagles are killed each year by fast moving trains.
2. Second stop was George’s Island Park Dutch Street, Montrose, NY. Here we spotted a young eagle perched in a tree. It was so bitterly cold along the river’s edge we were grateful for the warming tent serving hot cocoa!
As with the lecture, we learned more interesting facts about the eagles while on our bus tour. For instance, did you know that Benjamin Franklin didn’t want the Bald Eagle to be our nation bird but instead fought for the Wild Turkey! Who knew! All in all we enjoyed the bus tour and the additional knowledge we learned from Lisa and Aaron our tour guides—thank you Lisa & Aaron!
I have always had a strong appreciation for the beauty of the area in which we live. Attending today’s event only increased my awareness of the beauty that surrounds us each day and the fact that we need to do our part in preserving nature. As it was stated today, the land or natural surroundings here along the Hudson River are the bald eagles home. You wouldn’t go into your neighbors’ home and be disrespectful by littering or worse, so please, don’t be disrespectful of the homes of our national bird, the bald eagle!
For more information please consider contacting and/or visiting the
Teatown Lake Reservation 1600 Spring Valley Road, Ossining, NY? – (914) 762-2912?