Meet the Bald Eagles at Onondaga Lake in Upcoming Audubon Public Event

Jan 31, 2017

This fine feathered friend was seen over Onondaga Lake. Feb 11th event will allow walkers to learn about the flock perched or soaring nearby.
Credit Greg Craybas /

 (UPDATE:  The Morning Presentation and Birding Walk has filled; A second session has been added, running 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., also Feb 11th)

Contrary to what many Central New Yorkers might believe about Onondaga Lake’s ecosystem, it has become a winter home for many Bald Eagles. An event coming up February 11th aims to explain why.

(event registration & deadline info below)

Chris Lajewski is director of the Montezuma Audubon Center.

“People here in Central New York for good reason, thought that the lake was dead.  Well, we’ve changed the lake ecosystem.  It’s now such a more healthy environment for people and for birds and other wildlife, and as a result all of these wildlife are coming back, including our national bird.”

Lajewski says the bald eagle suffered a severe population decline after being hunted for their plumage, having their habitats destroyed and struggling with effects of D-D-T pesticides. 

Bird watchers say it's not uncommon to see eagle hunting over Onondaga Lake or perched in nearby trees.
Credit Greg Craybas /

Following a repopulation effort started at Montezuma about 40 years ago, Lajewski says roughly 250 pairs  of bald eagles now inhabit New York State.  Many can be found along the Lake Ontario shoreline, Finger Lakes region, and in Central New York. And when lakes and wetlands freeze over, Onondaga Lake is now one of the few places eagles can still find fish.

“On a typical winter day you can see perhaps two-to-three dozen bald eagles sitting in those trees behind Destiny USA, sitting out on the ice of Onondaga Lake and soaring overhead.  That’s something we’re going to help folks experience with our upcoming event.”

Credit Greg Craybas /

Lajewski believes the restoration of Onondaga Lake and its wildlife was largely because of community involvement.

“The lake would not be a cleaner, healthier environment if it wasn’t for the dedicated commitment of over 700 community members, who have helped plant native vegetation in these newly restored areas.”

Credit Greg Craybas /

A free presentation and birding walk celebrating the region’s conservation of bald eagles will be held Saturday, February 11th, from 10 A-M to noon. Those interested can R-S-V-P before February 3rd by emailing or calling 315-365-3588.