NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – North Salem resident Jim Figura gazed out at Titicus Reservoir as he was passing on a recent morning and was astonished to see a small convocation of bald eagles breakfasting on a deer carcass. Figura grabbed his camera and captured the scene.
“While eagles primarily eat fish, they do scavenge, especially in winter, when food is harder to find,” explained Lisa King of the New York State Department of Conservation (DEC). “The eagles in the photo are probably resident adults from a nest nearby the reservoir.”
America’s national symbol was nearly lost to the pesticide DDT in the mid-20th century, said Pete Nye, formerly of DEC. In 1976, Nye fostered a program to restore the bald eagle to Eastern shores by importing juvenile birds from Alaska, where they were plentiful, and releasing them here.
As a result, the Eastern bald eagle population grew from a virtual zero to 2010‘s figure of 173 breeding pairs, which resulted in 244 young, said King. The fledgling population increases by about ten percent a year.
“Hopes are high that the bald eagle population will continue to expand in New York and elsewhere, repopulating areas from which they have disappeared,” King said.
“In the meantime our challenge is to secure sufficient suitable eagle habitat and to limit human disturbance within these habitats, allowing the species to continue to live and expand in New York.”
The annual Hudson River EagleFest will take place on Feb. 9 at Croton Point Park in Croton-on-Hudson from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Birding experts will be on hand throughout the day to provide information, point out multiple eagle-viewing locations and offer other eagle-related entertainment.
Have you seen bald eagles in North Salem? Send photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.