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EagleFest Draws Flock of Birds and Bird-Watchers

PEEKSKILL, N.Y.— The 80 individuals who stood watching an expert work with birds of prey might not have had the same sight abilities as a bald eagle, but that didn’t stop their intense focus on the magnificent birds flying overhead.

Demonstrator Brian Bradley of Skyhunters in Flight displayed a variety of birds to the crowd including hawks and falcons, explaining their way of hunting, lifestyle and eating habits before allowing the bird to fly overhead and demonstrate how it searches for food.

With binoculars or cameras strapped around their necks, the bird-watchers were participants in the Hudson River EagleFest, which was sponsored by Teatown Lake Reservation. Between both locations of the event, there were displays of demonstrators and a tour of some of the best places to spot the eagles. Bradley showed the crowd a total of seven birds, including four owls, two falcons and one hawk.

The location for the bird display, as well as the actual eagle sighting, allowed showgoers to see the eagles in their natural habitat, said Bradley.

“The main attraction for the eagles here is the availability of their main prey which is fish…and one of the things about this area is that in the winter time a lot of the bodies of water that they would normally visit are frozen over," Bradley said. "That leaves the Hudson River open with its moving water, and so they naturally gravitate toward the open water in the winter when the conditions are the worst. Because they can always catch food here."

Bradley showed the crowd a total of seven birds, including four owls, two falcons and one hawk.

He explained that usually there would be more eagles in the area where the demonstration took place, but because it has been such a mild winter the eagles had more places to search for food. Conversely, the warmer temperatures brought more people who wanted to learn about the birds of prey.

“The weather has been mild, and I think people always enjoy nature, but since it’s not as cold they can come out for something like today,” said Leigh Draper, who works for the New York – New Jersey Trail Conference . “I live in Peekskill, and I know people love that there’s always something going on here. People always love to enjoy nature right before their eyes.”

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