Soon the sky above Westchester County in New York will feature a magnificent sight: the migration of the bald eagle. This winter tradition peaks in January and February before the birds return north for nesting in mid-March. The open waters of the lower Hudson River along Westchester County are a popular choice for these enduring symbols of our country during the winter season, which means you’re just a Metro-North ride away from witnessing their majestic migration yourself.

According to New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation, stretches of the Hudson Valley increasingly popular with bald eagles include Riverfront Park and Charles Point/China Pier in Peekskill, the Verplanck waterfront in Cortlandt, and George’s Island Park in Montrose. Metro-North riders might also snag a sighting from the river side seats on trains between Croton-on-Hudson and Poughkeepsie.

For a special winter experience, here’s an easy guide to let your love of nature take flight:

Meander the Hudson River Shoreline: Winter is uniquely beautiful on the water and walking the Hudson riverfront offers a chance to spot bald eagles overhead. Besides putting you in peak position, your train ride can be a window to more bird sightings.

Goose takes flight on the banks of the Hudson River at Croton Point Park
View down the Hudson River from Croton Point Park

Catch Teatown's Hudson River EagleFest: Celebrating its 19th annual program, Teatown's Hudson River EagleFest is an all-day festival at Croton Point Park. Held Saturday, February 4 (with a snow date of Sunday, February 5), the event includes thrilling live bird shows spotlighting birds of prey, bird walks to view eagles through spotting scopes, heated tents filled with educational displays and exhibits, crafts and games for children, food trucks and more.

Another Local Highlight: Croton Gorge Park is a 97-acre escape in Cortlandt that features The Old Croton Dam, one of the largest hand-hewn structures in the world. If weather conditions allow, the area is a popular sledding and cross-country skiing spot in wintertime.

The Croton Dam at Croton Gorge Park
The Croton Dam at Croton Gorge Park

On the Hunt for a Snack: Find something warm to drink to accompany your winter walk by swinging into The Black Cow Coffee Company (4 Old Post Road South, Croton-on-Hudson). For lunch or dinner, try Croton Tapsmith (129 Grand Street, Croton-on-Hudson), a well-loved Hudson Valley craft beer and wine tavern. In addition to regional brews—crafted no more than 3 hours from the taproom—the pizzas are a must-try.

Croton Tapsmith
Croton Tapsmith

Satisfy a sweet tooth at Baked By Susan (379 Riverside Avenue, Croton-on-Hudson), considered one of the best local bakeries in Westchester. See their expert bakers use mostly vintage bakery equipment from the glass-fronted store and sample their made-from-scratch cakes, cupcakes, muffins, scones, brownies and more.

Ideas for Eagle Eyed Shoppers: Local resident experts in backyard birding are behind the wonderful Feed The Birds! store (326 S. Riverside Avenue, Croton-on-Hudson), where you’ll find everything you need to make your backyard a home to all the wonderful birds in your own neighborhood. You can outfit your home with handmade signs, tables and small décor from the (often upcycled) treasures at Double Docs Design (7 Old Post Road South 5A, Croton-on-Hudson).

Where to Stay: Make a night of it at a selection of regional Westchester County hotels, including Holiday Inn Express & Suites Peekskill-Lower Hudson Valley (Metro-North's Peekskill train station on the Hudson line is conveniently nearby), Holiday MTK Mount Kisco (take Metro-North's Harlem line to Mount Kisco station) and Crabtree’s Kittle House in Chappaqua (also a community serviced along Metro-North's Harlem line).

Train to Croton-Harmon: In about 50 minutes the train from Grand Central Terminal will whisk you to Croton-Harmon station, located just off Croton Point Park along the Hudson River in Croton-on-Hudson.



Croton Point Park is a short rideshare from Croton-Harmon

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