Bald Eagle Photography
I never started out to be a wildlife photographer. Photographing wildlife found me. There are not a lot of photographic opportunities in upstate New York in the winter unless there is new fallen snow. We have more grey and “dirty” days than pretty white snow days. But I found a new passion for bald eagle photography when the eagles and eaglets started appearing back in the area that I live in, the Mohawk Valley of upstate New York.
Bald Eagle First Sights
Photographing this nest is a passion of mine. 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 eagles in Upstate NY 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. Today there are now an estimated 323 breeding pairs of eagles in New York State. Read more on the resurgence of the bald eagles here.
Bald Eagle Facts
A Bald Eagle mates for life. In additional, they usually return to the same nest each year. Both the father and the mother incubate the eggs. 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.
First Photographs of Bald Eagle and Eaglets
Below are pictures of the first photographed eaglets and this was also my first real introduction to bald eagle photography in a nest. 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 the nest 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.
The Spring Snowstorms
In 2017, the bald eagle pair again returned to their nest 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 on the nest incubating 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.
I hope the eagles rebuild their nest. There are numerous other eagles in the Mohawk Valley and by the Mohawk River. I will still photograph them, but the nest was something special and I will miss it. The eagle nest may have been rebuilt, but it is not where you can see it and photograph.
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Bald Eagle pictures and be purchased in the Bald Eagle and Wildlife Gallery.
Debbi Marquette Photography is located in Upstate New York at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. She is an award winning and published travel, landscape and bald eagle photographer specializing in artistic, authentic, and memorable landscape and wildlife photography. Debbi 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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