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The Story of the Bald Eagles of Centerport, NY

The story of the Bald Eagles Of Centerport is a story of hope which has brought a community together.  Fortunately in 1972 a National Ban was made on the pesticide DDT that almost decimated many forms of wildlife.

Due to this ban and due to the NYS DEC implementing a ‘Hacking Program’ to increase the population of eagles in NYS the successful growth of the eagle population continues to be multiplying each year.  https://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/9381.html 

The story of the Bald Eagles of Centerport is told daily through the lenses of a group of photographers that fell in love with a pair of eagles in 2017.  The wonderful friendships and relationships among the community and photographers are unique to the Bald Eagles of Centerport. When the eagles were spotted in 2017, Rob Schwartz created the Bald Eagles of Centerport Facebook group with the hopes of capturing and sharing the lives of this incredible pair with others.  This group is strong and grows everyday.  To date, there are over 32,600 followers. 

After spotting the eagles early in 2017, Rob just figured it was a fluke chance and honestly didn't know if he was actually looking at a Bald Eagle.  After some time he came to realize that these birds were indeed eagles, and they were not only here (close to being in his back yard) but were nesting only 100's of feet from his home.  At that time, he didn't own a camera and basically had no experience with birds of prey.  As he frequented the pond, he noticed more and more photographers flocking to the area with their long lenses. 

 

It was then that he thought that it would be wonderful to share the story of the Bald Eagles of Centerport with his community. He began reading up on bald eagles and realized that this bald eagle pair was very unique in terms of their location, affording many people with a glimpse of their state bird in action right in Centerport! 

Rob attempted some point and shoot pictures to document the birds, but soon realized that his photos gave no justice to the majestic birds he had come to love so much.  Thanks to Nancy Viscardi Ricigliano.  (https://www.facebook.com/nancy.viscardiricigliano ) an amazing photographer, Rob was able to upload some of her incredible photos of the eagles in action onto the newly created Facebook group "Bald Eagles of Centerport". 

After setting up the Facebook page, Rob soon realized that these eagles were becoming a perfect educational tool for his community as well as a sense of pride for his community members. 

In 2018 with the donations of many followers a Live Cam was installed close to the nest which gave the community, followers and the photographers a live close up view of our eagles on you tube and on the Facebook page.  This live cam afforded the viewers the opportunity to watch 3 sets of eaglets grow and fledge from Centerport. 

In the beginning Rob would head over to the bridge to watch the many photographers in awe as they captured the hunting prowess, preening and territorial disputes in the air.  It wasn’t long before Rob and his wife became interested in photography and joined the photographers capturing the daily movements of this pair shot.  Rob also learned that not only photographers with gigantic lenses frequented the bridge, but families, birders, visitors from different states and towns and even dog walkers would come to Mill Pond or to the nest area just to catch a glimpse of Mom Eagle teaching her Eaglet to fish or an eaglet taking it's first leap of faith off the nest to fly free for the very first time.  Truly nature at it’s best!  

 

Over the last 5 years, the Bald Eagles of Centerport have been exceptionally successful at raising 13 eaglets, which we called C1-C13.   *We do not name the eagles, we designate a ‘C’ for Centerport and the number for the order in which they were born* and 3 eaglets alone in 2020.  All of the eaglets have gone on to fledge to hopefully find a mate and maybe one day they might even come back in 4 or 5 years to nest in someone else's backyard!

In a world of uncertainty, these eagles serve as a reminder of true patriotism. The American Bald Eagles equates with USA and tolerance.  Politics aside, this group and the story remains without sponsorship or political bias/influence - it's just Americans that have come together rooting on this very prestigious eagle pair!

The story of the Bald Eagles of Centerport took had a tragedy with the passing of Dad on Dec 23th, 2022.  Bobby Horvath and Cathy St Pierre from WINORR did their best to try to save him. After an initial necropsy, it was determined that Dad passed from Avian Flu.  

 

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Mom's journey after Dad's passing was very eventful.  Eagles from near and far quickly noticed a female in a nest without a significant mate.  Other males were even documented in the area as Dad was sadly suffering from the Avian flu below the nest. After Dad passed on December 23, 2022, Mom was inundated with bachelors longing for the position alongside her and her territory. There were also some enormous females considering taking over the nest, but they knew better and moved on. Mom's stature and demeanor clearly stated her dominance as the Queen of Centerport.  


The first documented male that stayed close to the nest we began calling 'D2'...standing for 'possible Dad #2'.  D2 was documented hanging around the nest a day or two before Dad passed away.  Once Dad passed D2 tried to gain Mom's acceptance.  On December 26, 2022 D3 showed up and scared D2 off.  D3 maintained the area scaring off his possible competition for the position with Mom until the end of January when D4 showed up.  D4 spent approximately 2 weeks with Mom until D5 arrived in the area to take over the male position in Centerport. D5 battled D4 out of the area and stayed with mom until February 24th when D3 & D4 returned!!!


D3 immediately displayed his dominance over D4 and D5 and made it clear that he will not leave Mom again. D3 has been alongside Mom since the end of February and they are clearly now the Bald Eagles of Centerport.

---------------------------  The making of our calendars ----------------------------

 

In 2019 a group of core photographers came together to create the 1st Edition Eagles of Centerport Calendar, edited by Christine Carrion, to sell to their members. 50% of the profits went to Boots on the Ground, a non-profit organization that sent care packages to the troops overseas, while the other 50% of the profits raised went to a non-profit Wildlife Rescue and Rehab group called WINORR.  

In 2021 the core group of photographers once again created an eagle calendar with 100% of the profits going to WINORR.  The photographers have raised money to assist WINORR with costs to feed, rescue, house and rehabilitate injured wildlife.  Our goal, as a group of photographers, is to continue to pay it forward. We have been blessed to have these eagles nesting in our area, and we want our community to know that we appreciate their support in raising money for non-profit organizations that make a difference in our community.  

Combined over the three years of calendar sales and our Raptor Day event, the photographers have been able to raise over 50,000 dollars for non-profit groups such as WINORR. We also provide educational opportunities for local children in order to foster a love of wildlife.

Hope, passion and the desire to keep going forward! September 25th is

known in the town of Huntington as the "Bald Eagles of Centerport Day".

With the generous members of this group, we raised enough money to replace our old Live Cam with a state of the art new LIVE CAM!

To purchase a 2023 /2024 calendar, please (Go Here)

If you would like to purchase a photo shown in the photographer’s portfolio on this site, please feel free to contact them!  Visit the daily on-going activities of our eagles on our Facebook group.  The story continues right here! - https://www.facebook.com/groups/baldeaglesofcenterportNY/

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