The Trinity Church Cemetery & Mausoleum
got an unexpected visitor this Christmas: an American Bald Eagle. The eagle was spotted resting in a tree near the cemetery’s offices, carrying a fish it plucked from the Hudson River.
The eagle’s visit seemed symbolic: the cemetery is the final resting place of John James Audubon, author of the illustrated guide Birds of North America, and for whom the Audubon Society is named.
American Bald Eagles nest in upstate New York, but migrate south in the winter in search of open water and food. They were a common sight in the New York City area up through the 1840s, when the population began to dwindle due to habitat destruction and pesticide use.
In 1978 American Bald Eagles were added to the federal list of endangered species. Scientists began “hacking,” a technique to restore the lost eagle population. Young eagles from Alaska and Canada were brought to New York State, raised, and released. These efforts proved successful. By 2007, the American Bald Eagle was removed from the endangered species list. The Lower Hudson Valley now boasts over 100 wintering eagles—though few have ventured as far south as the Trinity Church Cemetery & Mausoleum.
Interested in trying to spot the eagle in person? The Trinity Church Cemetery & Mausoleum is located at 770 Riverside Drive, between 153rd Street and 155th Street. It’s open to the public from 9 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday.