ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Winter is a great time to view bald eagles in New York State. Viewing from a safe distance and at planned observation sites can offer a memorable experience.

Wintering eagles begin arriving in December and concentrations peak in January and February. Most are heading back to their nests by mid-March.

The Hudson River, the Upper Delaware River watershed, and sections of the St. Lawrence River are great places to view bald eagles in the winter. DEC maintains two well-marked viewing areas in the Mongaup Valley on the Rio and Mongaup Falls reservoirs.

The following tips will help you to have the best possible experience:

  • Use binoculars or spotting scopes instead of trying to get a little closer.
  • Don’t do anything to try to make the bird fly.
  • Respect private property, and avoid restricted areas.
  • Scan the tree line for eagles that are perched in the tree tops.
  • Look overhead for eagles soaring high in the sky.
  • Arrive early (7 a.m. – 9 a.m.) or stay late (4 p.m. – 5 p.m.), when eagles are most active.
  • Be patient – this is the key to successful viewing.

Keep in mind: Harassing, disturbing, or injuring a bald eagle is illegal.