I’m so excited! Baby eagles in NYC!!
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Affectionately named Vito and Linda, Staten Island’s bald eagles created a stir in April when they set up house on the South Shore and were confirmed by NYC Audubon as the city’s first nesting pair in over a century.
If all went well, the chicks should be hatched. However, summer foliage and the height of the nest make it difficult to observe or report anything with certainty. Regional wildlife specialists with the state Department of Environmental Conservation have been monitoring the nest location on a weekly basis and a DEC spokeswoman provided a brief report on what is known at this time:
"The nest is at the top of a very tall tree so they did not climb the tree as to not disturb the adult. From the ground level it was obvious that the adult was sitting on eggs. As of late last week the adult was now perching on the nest edge which could indicate that something was in the nest. We are waiting to see if anything shows itself."
If there are chicks, they will not be out of the nest any time soon. Parents care for them for over two months, bringing food to the nest. The eaglets continue to stay near the nest as they test their wings at 10 to 12 weeks.
So while DEC watches and waits for more definite evidence that Vito and Linda were successful this season, the fact that they established a nest is still something to savor as evidence of an environment that is rebounding.
"Only one pair of eagles was known to nest in all of New York State in 1960, compared to 173 pairs counted in 2010—and the population is growing. The eagles’ decision to stay and breed in New York City is a reminder that when ecosystems are healthy, wildlife returns," reported NYC Audubon on its website.
Protecting the birds and supporting the success of their nesting is serious business. The NYS DEC’s Bald Eagle Program warns: "If you see someone harassing or injuring an eagle, or if you spot destruction of eagle habitat or find an injured or dead eagle, report it at once to DEC’s Wildlife Diversity Unit at 518-402-8920."