The Conservancy offers eagle-viewing bus tours, information and educational exhibits from the Upper Delaware Visitor Center in Lackawaxen, PA.
There are few things more majestic than a bald eagle in flight. Come to Sullivan County and share the experience.
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Sullivan County’s True “Snowbirds”
It’s true. Bald eagles love Sullivan County in the winter. Every year, more than 100 of them migrate here from Canada and other points north because parts of the Upper Delaware River and some of our reservoirs have open water where the eagles can find their favorite food-fresh fish! We also have undisturbed habitat-1,200 acres that New York State purchased specifically for eagle protection-just 20 minutes from Monticello!
In the spring, most migrant eagles return to their home territory, but in recent years more eagle pairs have been making Sullivan County their permanent home. Thanks largely to the efforts of Peter Nye, director of the New York Endangered Species Unit, Department of Environmental Conservation, there are more than 30 breeding pairs of eagles in the state, up from no reproductive eagles in 1976. At least eight of those pairs of eagles are nesting and raising young in this region.
• Mongaup Falls Reservoir Observation Hut, Forestburgh
• Rio Reservoir, Forestburgh
• Delaware River-Hawk’s Nest north to Narrowsburg on Route 97
• Basha Kill Wildlife Management Area, Wurtsboro
• Rondout Reservoir, Grahamsville
To find them use binoculars or a spotting scope (for greater magnification). The eagles are usually found perching and flying to and from the ice and treeline surrounding the water.
Few birds compare with bald eagles. Turkey vultures lack the white head and tail of an adult eagle. Ospreys do not frequent eagle habitat until much later in the spring, long after the migrants have left.
Immature bald eagle plumage, chocolate brown, along with black beak and brown eyes gradually change each of the first five years. Slowly it turns into the stark white head and tail with yellow beak and eyes of the mature adult.
It is important to stay in or close to your vehicle when observing eagles. Movement, noise, loud colors and car lights are upsetting to the birds. Practicing good eagle etiquette along with lots of patience helps prevent bald eagles from abandoning their perch. It should be noted harassing eagles is punishable by a high fine and/or imprisonment.
On-site interpretive programs and guided habitat trips during the winter months are available. Children’s programs, education programs and slide presentations are offered throughout the year.