For fans of the bald eagle, the future is looking much brighter, thanks to the efforts of regional heroes whose love of this iconic raptor and its habitat has led to legacies that will last well beyond their lifetimes.
From Peter Nye’s groundbreaking work using “hacking” to restore eagle populations (see the inspiring video at https://delawarehighlands.org/eagles/) to the dedicated rehabilitation efforts of Bill and Stephanie Streeter and Jan Lucciola of the Delaware Valley Raptor Center (https://delawarehighlands.org/ eagles/), eagle populations are rising from the single pair of nesting bald eagles that remained here in 1975, to the hundreds of pairs in the region today.
Other essential partners to this success story are Barbara Yeaman, founder of the Delaware Highlands Conservancy, and Lori McKean, founder of the Eagle Institute, which merged with the Conservancy in 2012 and whose committed volunteers continue to carry this legacy forward.
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to lead a photography workshop focused on eagles and the habitat we share with them. The event was part of a series of bus tours sponsored by the Delaware Highlands Conservancy, which take place during the winter eagle season, when the resident population of eagles swells with birds that migrate from northern reaches to access fish in the open waters here.
Participants from Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey were treated to nearly 20 eagle sightings and enthusiastically captured photos of the majestic birds while learning about eagle welfare and techniques for better bird images. While the remaining bus tours are currently wait-list only, the opportunity to submit photos of eagles and their environs to the Conservancy’s first ever eagle photo contest continues through February 15. Details are available at https:// delawarehighlands.org/photo-contest. Visit https://delawarehighlands.org/ eagles/eagle-resources/ for additional links to eagle-related resources.