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Teatown's Hudson River EagleFest swoops into Croton Point Park
Bald eagles are soaring over the Hudson, and Teatown Lake Reservation is throwing a party. Featuring events for all ages and special eagle-viewing stations along the river, the nonprofit nature preserve will host its 8th annual EagleFest at Croton Point Park on Sunday, Feb. 10. The event was originally scheduled for Saturday but pushed back a day due to the incoming snow.
From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., visitors can see the birds up close, enjoy eagle storytelling, view displays from 30 area organizations and attend a Nikon presentation on optics for bird watching. There will also be guided bird walks on the hour, and tour buses will whisk watchers along the Hudson for a view of eagles in their natural habitat. A tent for children’s activities will have arts and crafts and shadow puppetry.
So why celebrate the bald eagle? Although 150 or so of the species currently spend winter along the Hudson Valley waterways, things weren’t always this way. In the beginning of the 20th century, the bird had all but vanished from New York State, and by the 1960s, it was on the United States endangered species list.
“In the mid-70s, New York State began a program that took young eagles from Alaska, and those were the start of the breeding pairs we now have on the Hudson,” said Phyllis Bock, the director of education at Teatown. “The population has been steadily increasing ever since.”
Bird lovers who want to enjoy eagle viewing can do so from a number of sites, including the Croton Boat Ramp at Croton-Harmon Train Station; Boscobel House and Gardens in Garrison; George’s Island Park in Montrose; Kathryn W. Davis RiverWalk Center in Sleepy Hollow; the New Croton Dam; Riverfront Green Park in Peekskill; Steamboat River Park in Verplanck; Trailside Museums and Zoo in Bear Mountain and Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton. Experts with spotting scopes will staff each site, and heated tents will have plenty of hot chocolate on hand.
With all of the scheduled fun, Bock also hopes the event raises awareness of the bald eagle’s recovery. “It’s more than an event about looking at eagles,” she said. “It’s about making sure we keep the Hudson Valley friendly for our wildlife population.”
IF YOU GO
What: 8th annual EagleFest
When: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10
Info: Croton Point Park, 1A Croton Point Ave., Croton-on-Hudson; 914-762-2912, ext. 110; www.teatown.org/eaglefest
Tickets: General admission is free, and select presentations are $10 per person ($5 in advance). Bus tour tickets cost $25 and riders must be 12 or older. To reserve all tickets, call 914-762-2912 ext. 110. Donations are also accepted.
Getting there: For visitors coming from Manhattan, there’s a Metro-North “Eagle Train Car” departing from Grand Central to Croton-Harmon and Peekskill stations at 9:50 a.m. The ride will feature commentary by guest naturalists, and free shuttle buses will bring passengers to and from the train station.