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Bald Eagles Are Back In Big Way In Westchester, Hudson Valley

A bald eagle in Verplanck. Photo Credit: Chet Friedman, Bedford Audubon Society
A bald eagle flies over Croton Point Landing. Photo Credit: Chet Friedman, Bedford Audubon Society

BEDFORD, N.Y. -- Thirty years ago, it would've been a rare sight to see a bald eagle flying in the Westchester sky.

Now, bald eagles have become so common, places like Teatown in Ossining host an annual EagleFest.

"I think bald eagles have been a conservation success story," Janelle Robbins, the executive director of the Bedford Audubon Society said.

Robbins said the banning of DDT has helped bring bald eagles back. She said in the winter, they often are able to see bald eagles.

"They have the right amount of access to water," Robbins said. "It gives them a good habitat. The presence of water is really important."

Books like "Silent Spring" and the thought of losing America's symbol were a big wakeup call.

"It would be so incredibly sad and shameful to lose our national symbol to something completely preventable," Robbins said.

Robbins said it is awesome when she is taking a nature walk or hosting a field day and sees an eagle flying above.

"Our older members remember how rare it was and how endangered they used to be," Robbins said. "People always react to an eagle. It's really powerful to see a bird with such a presence."

Phyllis Bock, the education director of Teatown, said the nature preserve has been hosting EagleFest for 12 years.

"We've had 4,000 people attend in the middle of the winter to celebrate the return of the eagle," Bock said.

Bock said the eagles here rely on fish and they like to come to Westchester when the reservoirs freeze. She said during the summer, eagles often head up north.

"EagleFest is one of our biggest events of the calendar," Bock said. "We've had a big surge of people who want to view eagles in their natural habitat. People make a day out of it."

The environmental conservation movement has allowed for a rich habitat and a greater diversity of species, Bock said.

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