By Sara-Megan Walsh
Two of Centerport’s biggest celebrities are safer thanks to quick action taken to protect these majestic winged beauties, much to the delight of their paparazzi.
PSEG Long Island announced in honor of the nation’s birthday, the 4th of July, it had answered the calls of Centerport residents asking the company to help protect a nesting pair of American bald eagles and their two eaglets from dangers posed by two nearby electrical poles. During the last week of June, PSEG crews wrapped bright orange insulation around the electrical wires and the transformers on top of two poles on Centershore Road near the intersection of Route 25A, according to Dan Wickstrom, a manager for PSEG.
“We were so concerned when we found the eaglets were landing on the wires,” Bruce Adams, of Northport, said. “As you all know, when linesmen are up on wires they are exposed to tremendous danger and we did not want that danger to impact the birds.”
Adams is one of the thousands of local residents and bird watchers who have flocked to Centerport hoping to catch a glimpse of The Commodore and Mrs. Vanderbilt, as the mated pair of eagles is affectionately nicknamed. The names were chosen by a growing number of birdwatchers on the Facebook group “Bald Eagles of Centerport, NY,” which has more than 8,000 followers, some who give updates on the eaglets’ progress and photographers share their best images and videos.
“This is so phenomenal,” Adams said. “The presence of these birds has made birders out of those us who were not birders a year ago.”
The avid photographer said he first noticed the eagles’ arrival in November 2017 as they began constructing a nest in close proximity to Chalet Inn & Suites in Centerport. Shortly thereafter, two eggs appeared in the nest and a pair of fledglings hatched in April.
As the young birds began to fly, Adams said he and other birdwatchers were alarmed to see the eaglets landing and perching on two power poles with transformers close to the nest. He said he reached out to Suffolk County Legislator William “Doc” Spencer (D-Centerport) for help.
“Centerport is already a picturesque place and the presence of these birds only adds to its beauty,” Spencer said. “I was happy to play a role in the community effort to protect the eaglets that thousands of residents have come to treasure.”
Spencer said he contacted PSEG and received an affirmative response within hours that they were willing to take action to protect the birds.
“A part of our mission is to be engaged in the community and be good stewards of the environment,” Wickstrom said. “We were happy to get involved and take some corrective action to make things safer.”
Wickstrom said the animal protective caps should stay in place and last through the summer as the eaglets continue to grow and learn to fly. The utility company is looking to install similar protective features on six additional poles in the Centerport area in the coming weeks, according to Wickstrom.