Eagles and the Hudson

By Kate Munz, Member Relations Coordinator

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Photo Credit: NYTimes on 5th Annual Eaglefest

In honor of Teatown’s EagleFest, we wanted to highlight the star of the yearly event, the bald eagle.

In the Hudson Valley we are very lucky to share space each season with this majestic, and nationally famous neighbor. While can see bald eagles yearly now, this was not always the case.

Before the 1900s, bald eagle populations in New York were plentiful, as many as 80 nesting sites according to the State Department of Environmental Conservation. But by 1976, only one pair of eaglets remained. Environmental groups citied pesticides, specifically DDT, for the reduced numbers. During that year, the state began its Bald Eagle Restoration Project as an attempt to bring back the population.

Today, approximately 500 bald eagles winter in New York. The eagles migrate to this region, usually arriving in December, as waters freeze in Canada and Nova Scotia. Eagle concentrations peak in January and February; heading back to their nests by mid-March.

We’ve seen the return of our eagles due to clean air and water, ample food supply, and largely undisturbed stands of trees – as these are important elements that support breeding pairs of eagles. It is therefore essential that we maintain this important habitat. Together we can work towards open space preservation and watershed protection.

Learn more about what you can do by visiting this page: http://www.birdday.org/birdday/themes/2012-twenty-years-of-imbd/20-ways-to-conserve-birds

 

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Things We LOVE about living in Westchester County

butterflygardenFebruary is the month of love!

We thought it would be fun to highlight just a few of the reasons why we love living and working in Westchester County.

 

1) We have access to over 18,000 acres of public, county-owned parkland where we can hike, picnic, bird watch, and explore with the family. There are also some hidden gems like Cranberry Lake Preserve and Marshlands Conservancy.

2) There is water all around us! We are bordered on the west side by the Hudson River and on the southeast side by the Long Island Sound. These shoreline landscapes provide important habitat for our region’s native species, like the Atlantic Sturgeon.

3) Great family outing opportunities are found all over the county and during all seasons. Join in on the fun with Bicycle Sundays, where you’ll find people of all ages and activity levels bicycling, skating, and pushing strollers up and down Bronx River Parkway. In north-county, at Teatown’s Eaglefest kids, young and old, come out to catch a glimpse of the wintering bald eagles; and scattering throughout the whole county are the nature centers, which offer free, family-friendly environmental education programming.

4) Our elected officials are working hard to address and mitigate against the impending structural and fiscal challenges due to climate change. Our County and Municipal Officials have made themselves accessible by attending local events, holding meetings, and offering insight into current events.

5) A dedicated community of advocates and organizations pushing to keep our environment at the highest quality. Our residents are passionate about where they live and for generations they have protected our Westchester.


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A Look Into Our Past – Westchester Environment, “New York State Breeding Bird Atlas”

This is the fifth installment of our “A Look into Our Past” Series, honoring the past five decades of work done by Federated Conservationists of Westchester County. This series revisits some of our best accomplishments by featuring past articles from our original publication “Westchester Environment.” 

In this post we would like to welcome spring and the start of the birding season with a piece on the first New York State Breeding Bird Atlas. This article, written by Berna Weissman our then Treasurer, delves into the planning and work behind the Breeding Bird Atlas Project 1980, which culminated in a published Atlas. In December 2008 a “Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in New York State” was released with updated information and public Google Earth datasets. Details on this “Second Atlas in Breeding Birds in New York State” can be found here: http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7312.html


“Westchester Environment” – Vol. 4 No. 3 – April & May 1982

A Look Into the PastNew York State Breeding Bird Atlas: a work a scientific significance

By Berna Weissman, FCWC Treasurer (Excerpt from)

Even in New York, endowed with a long history of ornithology and the current activity of a large number of professional and amateur observers, the precise distribution of the more than 200 species of birds which breed here is imperfectly known. Previous publications have had to rely on scattered studies of single species and random observations. The Federation of New York State Bird Clubs, seeking to fill this gap, launched the Breeding Bird Atlas Project in 1980, in cooperation with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, National Audubon Society, Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology and New York State Museum.

To accomplish the enormous task of mapping the distribution of all breeding birds, the entire state has been divided into approximately 5000 blocks of 25 square kilometers, each to be surveyed for the species breeding within it. The field work, which will last for five years, is being done by volunteers who, by visiting all the habitats within a block at various times throughout the breeding season, locate and identify birds, make observations of their behavior and code them as possible, probably, or confirmed breeders according to a list of established criteria. Publication of the Atlas is expected in the latter half of this decade.

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