ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — In 1976, there was only one pair of bald eagles nesting in New York. Now, there are almost 400 bald eagles throughout the state, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

If you’re looking to see some of these eagles in the wild, the DEC has a few suggestions. The winter, December through February, is actually the best time of the year to go eagle-watching. Eagles are most active from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

You should scan the treetops for perched eagles or watch the sky. The DEC said eagles like heavily wooded areas near water with tall trees. They eat a lot of fish so you can check ice flows or river islands.

For the safest and least intrusive eagle viewing, the DEC recommends you remain in or next to your vehicle, don’t approach eagles closer than a quarter mile, don’t make any loud noises, keep pets at home, and use binoculars or spotting scopes.

Best places to see bald eagles

Along the Hudson River

• Margaret Lewis Norrie Point State Park
• Constitution Island from North Dock, West Point
• Route 6/202 overlook above Iona Island State Park
• Riverfront Park, Peekskill
• Charles Point/China Pier, Peekskill
• Verplanck Waterfront
• George’s Island Park parking area, Montrose

The Upper Delaware River watershed

• Mongaup Valley Wildlife Management Area
• Mongaup Falls Reservoir
• Rio Reservoir

Upper reaches of the St. Lawrence River

• Wellesley Island State Park (early winter)
• Brockville Narrows
• Kingston, Ontario, and Cape Vincent, New York on the south
• Cornwall, Ontario, and Massena, New York to the north

Central New York

• Onondaga Lake

The DEC said not all eagle sightings need to be reported but should be if you see adult eagles between April 15 and June 15, four or more eagles in one location, and eagles with colored wing tags or leg bands. You can report these sightings to the DEC’s Bureau of Wildlife by emailing or by calling (518) 402-8883.