Friday, January 20, 2012

Brooklyn Eagles

I received a text from Doug Gochfeld Wednesday morning that he was looking at an adult Bald Eagle in Brooklyn's Prospect Park. The bird was circling Prospect Lake. I rushed into the park, but by the time I got to the lake it was nowhere to be found.

I sat at the edge of the lake hoping the bird would return, but after a 35 minute vigil I headed back across the park, eagle-less. I ran into Doug near the Maryland Monument and we stood talking for a few minutes. From that location there is an obstructed view of the lake, so when we saw all the gulls and geese take flight, we hurried down Wellhouse Drive towards the commotion. As we passed the Peninsula Meadow, to our left, we spotted a third year Bald Eagle flying towards us. I should note that the eagle seen by Doug earlier was an adult. The raptor continued flying above us and over Lookout Hill. About 3 minutes later, as we walked to the edge of the lake, we observed a second Bald Eagle soaring over the lake. This one was an adult bird and likely the same individual Doug spotted earlier as he noted that it was missing a flight feather on its right wing.

It appears that there has been an adult Bald Eagle hanging around Brooklyn since last Fall. Peter Dorosh posted a photo of one seen in Bush Terminal late last October (not far from Green-Wood Cemetery). Joe DiCostanzo spotted one in Green-Wood Cemetery on a Thanksgiving stroll. Marge Raymond photographed one in Green-Wood Cemetery while leading a tour on December 7th. Subsequent to that there were several unsubstantiated sightings in the cemetery by landscape workers, but then someone photographed it on January 6th and posted the image here.

Bald Eagles aren't a super-rarity in New York City as there are usually a few sightings of migrating individuals each year. To have one hanging around Brooklyn, however, is very unusual and kinda cool. I wonder if the newspaper "The Brooklyn Eagle", which began in 1841, took their name because Bald Eagles could be seen around coastal Brooklyn in the 19th century.

Here's a good photo page that shows the five-year plumage transition of Bald Eagles.

It should be noted that Doug said a close inspection of his photos showed that both eagles were banded. If you see any Bald Eagles around Brooklyn look for bands and, if possible, note any numbers.

1 comment:

joknecht said...

I saw it today near Cunningham Park in Jamaica Estates

Exploring urban nature, birds, birdwatching, birding, hummingbirds, butterflies, dragonflies, bees, hawks, raptors, wildflowers, trees, mushrooms, environment, binoculars, spotting scope