Bald Eagles: SOLD OUT / A few seats may open up last minute
Lecture and Mini Documentary
October 23, 7pm
Doors open at 6:15 for reserved seating | Non-reserved seating opens at 6:50
Riviera Theater, 4 Center Street, Geneseo
*Current Conservancy members may reserve seats (until Oct. 21), other seats available first-come that evening (if available)
A symbol of strength, independence and majesty, the bald eagle was proclaimed the emblem of the United States of America on June 20, 1782. Even earlier, in 1778, the Bald Eagle was depicted atop the coat of arms adopted by the State of New York.
At that time, eagles were commonly observed throughout New York State. However, in the early 1900’s, sightings became less frequent as shooting, logging, and habitat loss took tolls on the population. Soon thereafter, pollution and chemicals, including DDT, entered the food chain and accelerated the decline. By 1970, just one nesting pair could be found in the State. Located near Hemlock Lake, these two eagles continued to breed, but the eggs were not viable and no eaglets hatched. The Bald Eagle was near extinction in New York State.
With a national ban on DDT enacted in 1972, and prohibitions against taking or killing Bald Eagles mandated by the federal Endangered Species Act of 1973, prospects for a turnaround surfaced. In 1976, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation endeavored to restore Bald Eagles to the State. For the next twelve years, NYSDEC biologist Peter Nye led New York’s Bald Eagle Restoration Project. With assistance from many partners, teams of biologists collected young eaglets from western states, brought them to New York, raised them atop high towers in specially constructed nests and released them once they could fly.
In time, this unprecedented undertaking led to remarkable success. By 1989, the process, referred to as “hacking,” achieved its preliminary goal of establishing ten breeding pairs within New York. Today, more than 250 breeding pairs have been documented and it is once again possible to observe this magnificent raptor in many areas throughout New York.
On October 23, Peter Nye, a nationally renowned wildlife biologist, will discuss his experience leading this dramatic turnaround. Nye led New York State’s Endangered Species Unit for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for 36 years, until his retirement in 2010. He was deeply involved in numerous endangered species projects, including extensive work on Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles, Peregrine Falcons, Osprey and Sea Eagles. He has led numerous investigations into breeding and wintering ecology, migratory pathways and essential habitats of these species, and has written extensively of these results. He was a past leader of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Northern States Bald Eagle Recovery Team, is a member of the select international working group on Sea Eagles and Climate Change, and is an adjunct faculty at the University of Albany where he currently teaches a graduate course in Wildlife Management. A mini documentary film will accompany Nye’s presentation on the return of the Bald Eagle.