CENTERPORT, N.Y. -- Long Islanders are used to seeing rabbits, squirrels and, if you're lucky, a deer. But a new animal has recently made a significant comeback on the island, and it's gaining lots of attention -- bald eagles.
The birds have become so well-loved in Centerport, the town proclaimed Sept 25th as "Bald Eagles of Centerport Day."
"They're the ultimate symbol of freedom," said Rob Schwartz, the founder of the Facebook page Bald Eagles of Centerport.
Schwartz told CBS New York's John Dias it was 2017 when he and his wife first noticed a pair of bald eagles in Centerport. They were shocked to see a nest in their backyard.
He knew the birds would fascinate others, so he launched a Facebook page dedicated to their daily lives, which now has more than 32,000 members from around the world. Many come to visit, but most keep up constantly.
"Essentially, all these people live daily with them," said Schwartz. "They know every day what fish they caught."
"People are very infatuated with the pictures," said Christine Carrion, an eagle photographer. "Because of these close-up shots we get."
Experts say once the government banned certain pesticides, the bald eagles made a comeback and settled on the North Shore, from places like Canada.
Bobby Horvath, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, said it's the perfect spot for them due to its surroundings.
"Right amount of water and food that didn't have eagles," said Horvath. "So I guess it was inevitable."
Horvath believes up to two dozen bald eagles now live on Long Island, but he doesn't think it will become an eagle haven.
"They're very territorial," said Horvath. "There are battles over territory."
Bald Eagles of Centerport will be hosting its annual "Raptor Day" on November 11th 2023. It's a fundraiser, where people can get up close and personal with rehabilitated and rescued eagles and other kinds of birds.
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