A visitor’s Guide to the Eagles of Lackawaxen PA
John Manna Photography / January 2017
IMAGINATION-ART BLOG POST #2
The national symbol of the United States of America, the Bald Eagle was in danger of extinction 40 years ago, largely due to the use of the pesticide DDT.
Due to conservation actions taken by the American public, habitat protection, and the federal government’s banning of DDT, the eagle has made a remarkable recovery.
During the months of December through February, Bald Eagles make their annual migration to access warmer feeding grounds.
Eagle viewing can offer an exhilarating and memorable experience.
The Bald Eagle is clearly recognizable by its striking white head, brown body, and hooked yellow beak, with a wingspan of 6 to 7 feet, it is hard to miss.
BEST SPOTS FOR SHOOTING
There are many viewing areas along the Delaware River to explore, but The Delaware Highland Conservancy located at 176 Scenic Drive, Lackawaxen, PA 18435 has a prime spot and there is off street parking.
HOW TO GET THERE
WHEN TO GO
- There are resident eagles that live in the area year round, but your chances for viewing increase at the end of October through the beginning of January.
- Eagles are most active during the morning 7:00-9:00 AM, and late afternoon 4:00-5:00 PM, but there may be activity during the entire day.
- Plan on spending many hours standing and waiting for the action of fishing and fighting.
- The Delaware Highlands Conservancy gives guided eagle habitat tours, provides maps and information for those who want to try eagle watching on their own, and has volunteers who staff popular viewing sites to help visitors spot the eagles, and answer questions. Phone: 570-226-3164
- You will need to be patient while viewing eagles. It can be hit and miss, so be prepared to spend some time at the location. The site is by the water and it will be cold. I recommend that you dress in layers, bring a warm hat and insulated gloves and insulated shoes.
- The site is a bit remote in the Winter, and you may want to pack a lunch and hot drink.
VIEWING and PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS
- Eagles can be seen flying high along the mountainous tree lines as far as 400 – 500 yards away, but if you are lucky, they can be as close as 50 yards. Bring a good pair of binoculars and the longest zoom lens that you have available. You will need a 400-600mm lens to get the best shots.
- Scan the tree line for eagles that are perched in the tree tops.
- Look overhead for eagles soaring high in the sky.
- Check ice floes or river islands for eagles sunning themselves or enjoying a meal.
- Arrive early (7 am – 9 am) or stay late (4 pm – 5 pm), when eagles are most active.
- Be patient.
Eagle Watching Etiquette
For the safest and least intrusive viewing experience, please follow these guidelines when observing or photographing nesting eagles:
- Use binoculars or a spotting scope to observe eagles closely.
- Photographers should use telephoto lenses.
- Do not stand directly under an eagle nest or in close view of the eagles.
- Federal law requires you to stay at least 330 feet away from any nest. This distance is also true for individual eagles that may be perched on a tree or standing on the ground.
- Once parked safely off the road, remain in or near your vehicle. Vehicles can serve as very effective “bird blinds”.
- Be as quiet as possible. Don’t honk, rev your engine, play loud music, shout or make any other loud noises.
- Move quickly and quietly to any designated observation areas.
- Never try to make eagles fly or stand up at the nest.
- Always ask permission before entering private property.
- Keep pets at home.
- Always give eagles and other wildlife the space they need.
- Please share your knowledge and set an example for others.
About the Author
John Manna is a New York / New Jersey Metro Area based digital artist photographer who looks for inspiration in turning everyday images into whimsical works of art to be enjoy for generations to come.