Seals, eagles, and coyotes oh my!
Historic animal sightings have been popping up all over the place lately. One of the rarest animals in North America, the Sierra Nevada red fox, was recently spotted in Yosemite National Park for the first time in a century. Closer to home, harbor seals, coyotes, and bald eagles have all been spotted in New York City.
The sightings are being taken as a great sign that conservation and environmental protection programs are working. Once abundant, bald eagles were almost completely wiped out in the 1970s before dangerous chemicals used in pesticides were banned. Harbor seals were once a common sight in New York waters but their numbers have been plummeting in the area since colonial times due to hunting.
While seeing birds of prey around town is becoming increasingly common (there’s even a special bald eagle viewing seminar with the parks department) the bald eagle news this week was still big. That’s because for the first time in at least 100 years there’s confirmation of bald eagles nesting in New York City. A tugboat captain spotted the pair nest building in Staten Island. According to NYC Audubon: “As the population grows, the eagles will have to travel farther afield in search of food. And that can only mean we’re going to see more and more of them in urban centers. ‘Because eagle numbers are increasing,’ says Bob DeCandido, a Bronx-based ornithologist, ‘this is probably just the beginning.’”
Don’t go looking for the actual nest though, New York state discourages revealing the exact location of nests for the birds’ safety. Let eagles make their epic comeback in peace!
More common but still rare was the recent harbor seal sighting, also in Staten Island. The New York Police Department posted a picture to Twitter of about twelve seals chilling on some rocks. Another group was spotted back in April on the South Shore.
Other animal spottings in the city have some people a little more concerned, believing we’re all doomed to succumb to them: coyotes. After being spotted in Westchester, Central Park, and the Bronx many believe coyote spottings will become more common as their population explodes upstate. Other cities, like Chicago, have learned to cohabitat with the hunters. That article makes a great case for why New York City should too since the coyotes mostly eat rats and mice and even protect birds by keeping feral cats away from them.
As long as you take advantage of all the different ways you can enjoy the outdoors in New York City, I’m sure you’ll run into one of these awesome animals soon.
-By Susan Torres - check out her blog here.