CROTON, N.Y. - Nature lovers from across the Hudson Valley will have a chance to see our national symbol up close next weekend when Teatown Reservation's EagleFest returns.
The event will be held Saturday, Feb. 4 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Croton Point Park as well as additional viewing locations including for the first time for Riverfront Green in Peekskill.
Attendees can enjoy an abundance of activities from guided and independent eagle viewing to raptor shows, bus tours, storytelling, engaging children’s programs and activities, bird walks and displays from over 30 local organizations.
Teatown consultant Lydia S. Howie said the reservation has been holding the events for the past eight years. The return of bald eagles to the area was a great conservation success story, she said.
"It was only back in the seventies that the eagles were almost extinct and then a mating pair of eagles was brought in and those eagles kept breeding and now there are eagles all throughout the Hudson Valley," Howie said. "There are about 80 eagles living in the area."
The eagles come to our area from points further north in Canada and New England for the relatively warmer climate and easier access to food, Howie said.
"This is like their summer vacation," she said.
Entertaining and educational shows will be taking place all day long in Croton in the Eagle Theatre and children's Eaglet Stage heated tents. Howie recommends starting the day in Croton since there will be plenty of helpful and educational information for newcomers.
Presentations will include "Close Encounters with Wintering Eagles and Owls" with Bill Streeter from the Delaware Valley Raptor Center and "Flight of the Raptors" with James Eyring of the Pace Environmental Center.
Advance sale tickets for Eagle Theatre shows are $5 per person. Tickets are $10 per person when purchased at the door but children ages three and under are free. All shows in the Eaglet Stage are free.
Other viewing locations include Croton Boat Ramp at Croton-Harmon Train Station, George’s Island Park in Montrose, the Kathryn W. Davis Riverwalk Center in Sleepy Hollow, The New Croton Dam in Cortlandt and Bear Mountain State Park Trailside Museums and Zoo.
Also for the first time this year, Peekskill's Riverfront Green has been added as an EagleFest location and will feature a variety of free amenities and activities including a large heated tent with tables and chairs, a portable bathroom, eagle and bird viewing stations with spotting scopes.
Storyteller Jonathan Kruk will be on hand in Peekskill from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. and there will be a live birds of prey flying demonstrations with Brian Bradley from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Free shuttles to and from Croton Point Park from all locations will run throughout the day and local vendors selling hot food and beverages.
Teatown requests that guests attending EagleFest give a $5 per person donation to help offset the cost of the event. Attendees are encourages to dress warm and bring binoculars if they have them.
For more information including a full schedule of events for each location, go to www.teatown.org/eaglefest/