Bald Eagle Nest in Upstate New York Introduction
This is the story of bald eagles in the Mohawk Valley of Upstate New York and one particular nest. I have been watching and photographing this bald eagle nest in upstate New York since 2017. I posted about this previously which you can read here. Much of that story is included in this post, but the fate of this bald eagle pair took a new turn so I am extending the story. Bald eagle and eaglet photos and images are a passion of mine. The adult eagles mate for life and take turns feeding the eaglets and watching the nest. The female is the larger Eagle. She generally sits on the eggs throughout the evening. The male will be back each morning with food. Due to the locality of nearby rivers and canals meals are often fish dinner. Observing them over time, they are fascinating to watch and are a true family while raising the young.
Nest of Eagles First Sights
At first, the eagles created quite a stir in the little rural area that I live. A nesting pair of Eagles was more than a “sight to see”. Now bald eagles in the Mohawk Valley and Upstate New York have made a comeback. Previously, DDT almost eliminated the eagles. In 1960 there was only one nesting pair. The Federal Government passed the Endangered Species Act of 1973 and then New York followed suit with New York’s Endangered Species Program in 1976. In 2017 there were an estimated 323 breeding pairs of eagles in New York State. Read more on the resurgence of the bald eagles here.
First Bald Eagle and Eaglets Images
Below are pictures of the first photographed eaglets and this was also my first real introduction to bald eagle photography. There were three eggs and all three eaglets survived. Both eagles took turns feeding the eaglets. I spent weeks watching and photographing them – always from a safe distance. The nest is unique in that it is high in a tree as you would expect. However, from a trail, you can see it eye level. The nest is about 400 yards away so safe enough that photographing them did not disturb the eagles in their natural environment. Without binoculars or a long camera lens, you would not have been able to see the eaglets. It was the best scenario for everyone for wildlife photography, and provided a perfect opportunity for bald eagle and eaglet photos.
The Spring Snowstorms
In 2017, the bald eagle pair again returned and laid eggs. Between March 12-15 winter storm Stella hit our area. At this time, up to 3 feet of snow fell in a 12 hour time frame. Of course, the storm buried the nest in snow. I was not sure if the adults survived. After a few days, I was able to get out to check on the eggs. There was still several inches of snow in the nest, but sure enough, the mother eagle was still and iincubating her eggs. We had trouble keeping our driveway clear with 3 inches of snow falling per hour. I can’t even imagine what the Eagles endured. Unfortunately, none of the eggs hatched that year. All the snow was too much for the eggs.
Spring 2018 came and the Eagles were back in the nest. This year produced several winter and spring storms, but the one in early March came with extremely high winds. Numerous trees and power outages occurred. Unfortunately, the eagle’s nest blew out of the tree. Although the DEC was contacted, the fall is so far down that there is no way the eggs survived. The adult pair was spotted near the tree where their nest had been. With no home, no one knew if the eagles would return.
The Eagles Return
In 2019, the bald eagles in the Mohawk Valley returned to rebuild the nest in the same location. Per the DEC, they also had a nest in another location and hatched two eaglets that year. This year, 2020, the eagles returned to the original location in the newly built nest. The nest is in the same tree, but in a harder location to photograph. Two eggs hatched this year, but one did not survive. The adult eagles raised the lone eaglet and he fledged the nest.
I hope we can all learn from the plight of these eagles. They returned, rebuilt and never gave up despite several tragic obstacles. We can all take a lesson from the eagles.
If you would like to view additional bald eagle images, please visit the Bald Eagle Photo Gallery.
Debbi Marquette Photography is located in Upstate New York at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. Debbi is an award winning and published travel, landscape and bald eagle photographer specializing in artistic, authentic, and memorable landscape and wildlife photography. She travels frequently, lives near the mountains and constantly has a camera in her hand to capture photographs so others can see the beauty of our world.
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