A Bald Eagle Comes For A Visit

Marge Raymond has been birding at Green-Wood for twenty-five years. For the last few years, Marge has been leading trolley tours of Green-Wood for our Historic Fund.

Last Wednesday, on her regularly-scheduled weekly tour, Marge walked her group out into Cedar Dell to show them the very early Dutch Reformed brownstone gravestones there. As the group returned to the trolley, Marge spotted a large bird in the distance, and pointed and said, “Look in the distance way up on the top of the tree,  it must be one of our resident red tail hawks.” But one of the tourists was dubious: “That looks like a mighty big bird.” Marge agreed and retrieved her binoculars. As soon as she put them up to her eyes she realized her mistake: that was no hawk, it was an adult bald eagle! Marge got her camera, ran across Cedar Dell in the rain, and got these photographs before her camera battery died.

The bald eagle, perched near Cedar Dell.

Marge was tremendously excited by her sighting, which might be a first for Green-Wood: a bald eagle perched inside its grounds: “We have had fly overs but never an eagle actually present inside. I happened to be in the right place at the right time with binoculars and a camera. When the eagle flew away its wing span was tremendous. It made my day and it broke a record for Green-Wood Cemetery. It actually broke a state record as eagles have not been spotted in Brooklyn before.”

Here’s a photograph of a bald eagle, to give you a bit better detail of these magnificent birds–the reason they have long been our national bird.

A file shot of a bald eagle.
Another photograph of the bald eagle, taken by Marge out at Cedar Dell.

However, it now appears that in October another birder reported spotting a bald eagle fishing near Bush Terminal along New York Harbor’s edge just west of Green-Wood, and on Thanksgiving, a couple reported seeing an eagle at Green-Wood. So, it may be that this bald eagle (eagles?) is looking for a place in Brooklyn that feels like home: 500 or so acres, mature trees, plenty of fresh fish nearby.

Wouldn’t it be great if this eagle took up residence in Green-Wood, built a nest, and went fishing in the harbor! We can always use one more feathered resident . . .


10 thoughts on “A Bald Eagle Comes For A Visit”

  1. Cedar Dell is in section 53. It is surrounded by Circlet Path. The Dutch Reformed Church owns the area inside the path, and brought gravestones and remains from its churchyard in the mid-19th century.

  2. This was a wonderful find!

    Readers should know that the cemetery is excellent raptor habitat, and through the year you can see red-tailed hawks, peregrine falcons, merlins, kestrels, Cooper’s hawks, and sharp-shinned hawks there hunting. Several other species of dirurnal raptors pass over during migration periods.

    A couple notes about bald eagles. White head and tail marks a mature bird, 4-5 years old at least. During icy winters, bald eagles move south towards open fresh water: Croton Point Park in Westchester is a great place to see them in January and February.

  3. this is fantastic news!!!!!
    i swear i saw a bald eagle 2 even flying over by 86th street and 25 ave, they circled. I of course did not have a cam but a lousy phone cam, and nothing but a dot appears.
    i wonder if they came from Calvert Vaux Park ? by 26th ave past Cropsey?? I saw falcon there , some say they see osprey there too.

  4. Many of my family are buried here ,and after walking through it years ago I found in to be a very beautiful place .with a great deal of history. a great place to Think.one of my uncles who is buried here must be in 7th heaven . he was a great bird watcher and loved this place. he would often come on a Saturday and hike through enjoying everything there was to offer.I am sure he is enjoying the Eagle.

  5. In mid-October, I was in the Green-Wood with my kids and spotted a massive bird that looked like a bald eagle. I thought at the time that I must be mistaken, but your pictures prove otherwise.

  6. I was standing near the front entrance building in Greenwood Cemetery today and saw an enormous bird, dark feathers with a white head.fly over me… Bald Eagle?


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