CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. -- More than 4,000 people escaped their snowbound homes Sunday for Teatown Lake Reservation's Annual Hudson River EagleFest held at Croton Point Park.
It seemed that rescheduling the park's largest winter event from Saturday in anticipation of Winter Storm Nemo did not affect the turnout, as the area recovers from the storm that dropped more than a foot of snow in some Westchester towns on Friday and Saturday.
Sponsored by the First Niagara Bank Foundation and presented by Teatown, a nonprofit environmental organization and 875-acre nature preserve/education center, EagleFest pays tribute to the more than 150 bald eagles that spend the winter along Hudson Valley waterways.
In the 1970s, America's national symbol was on the brink of extinction, but two mating eagles were brought to the area and, in 2007, led to the species’ removal from the list of federally endangered animals.
Now, each winter, these eagles come to the Lower Hudson Valley area from northern New York and Canada for the relatively warmer climate, where the unfrozen Hudson River offers access to waterfowl and fish.
At this year’s EagleFest, families thrilled at close encounters with birds of prey at educational shows in heated tents, and enjoyed guided and independent eagle viewing, bus tours, storytelling, bird walks and displays from 30 area nature organizations.
Throughout the day, shuttle buses transported binocular and camera-wielding birdwatchers to eagle viewing stations set up in several Hudson River locations: the Croton boat launch, Steamboat Dock Park in Verplanck, Georges Island Park in Montrose, the Croton Gorge Dam and the Riverfront Green Park in Peekskill.
Sunday's EagleFest was staged in collaboration with a host of local and national nature organizations, including the Bedford Audubon Society and the Saw Mill River Audubon Society in Chappaqua.