Breaking news in Central Park! After an almost two-year hiatus, the renowned local celebrity Rover, the bald eagle, made a triumphant return, soaring majestically above the Central Park Reservoir on Monday. David Barrett, the esteemed creator and manager of the Manhattan Bird Alert account on X, shared the exhilarating encounter, confirming the identity of the adult bald eagle circling over the northwest corner of the Reservoir.
Rover, easily identifiable by the distinctive “R7” banding tag courtesy of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, was a frequent visitor to the Reservoir in 2022. Known for hunting seagulls and other park creatures, this celebrated raptor is back, much to the joy of avid bird enthusiasts.
Rover's return isn't just a cause for celebration among bird lovers; it also symbolizes a positive development for his species. Facing near-extinction in the 1970s, bald eagles have rebounded thanks to conservation efforts, including pesticide bans. In the 1970s, New York State had only one estimated pair of nesting bald eagles. Today, during peak winter seasons, there are around 400 pairs, according to NYC Audubon spokesperson Andrew Maas.
Maas expressed pride in witnessing bald eagles like Rover thriving in the city, underscoring the improved environmental conditions for both birds and people in New York City. Regarding Rover's whereabouts during his absence, Barrett suggests the eagle followed a migration pattern similar to many city residents, heading upstate to live and breed along the Hudson River. Rover's recent return, possibly triggered by a cold snap, reflects the instinct of many birds flying south to find open water and prey when upstate water bodies freeze.