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New York State launches Watchable Wildlife program

Published: Feb 27, 2014

New York State launches Watchable Wildlife program

Watchable Wildlife is the fastest growing segment for family travel and in New York State, which ranks fifth in the U.S. for number of wildlife-watching participants, it just got even better. The Department of Environment Conservation (DEC) and New York State Parks and Recreations are introducing a new program called Watchable Wildlife.

The website is live now - http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/55423.html and there will also be an accompanying book out in mid-October.

From bald eagles, falcons and Osprey to Monarch Butterflies, coyotes and black bears; New York State offers something different for everyone. New York State has recently gained notoriety for bringing three species back to the state - the moose, Bald Eagle and river otter.

Black bears may be found in all areas of upstate New York and are the second largest mammal in the state (the moose is the largest). They are found in forests mixed with open areas and wetlands. They are also found in farmland and are sometimes attracted to cornfields where they may cause great damage. Black bears are generally shy and elusive. Learn to identify their tracks and look for those in soft ground, such as mud and along streams.

Eastern Coyotes are most numerous at the end of summer and in the fall, after the pups have grown to adult size. Watch an open field in late summer to see a coyote hunting for small mammals. Follow their tracks during the winter-you may catch a glimpse of a coyote in the distance as you track.

Visitors to Long Island can experience ocean life up close through several organizations offering seal and whale watching excursions. Winter Seal watching walks are offered at various locations, including Montauk Point State Park and Jones Beach State Park, along with educational guided tours at Cupsogue Beach by the Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island (CRESLI).

In a state known for its abundance of sports and entertainment industry celebrities, it is a star of the feathered kind that grabs the attention of photographers throughout the month of March. Visitors and residents of New York State have the rare opportunity to spot America's national symbol as more than 150 migratory bald eagles make their way through the Empire State.

New York State offers a combination of open water and colder temperatures to create the perfect atmosphere for these regal creatures. Eagle watching is one of the most affordable activities for New York State winter visitors with a number of guided tours, excursions and educational workshops available through The Eagle Institute, a non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to the protection of the bald eagle and other birds of prey.  I LOVE NEW YORK (www.iloveny.com), New York State's tourism promotion agency, along with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservancy (DEC), not only protecting these VIP guests, but also provide a comprehensive list of optimal eagle-watching locations which can be found at www.nps.gov/upde, www.fws.gov/northeast/iroquois and www.fws.gov/r5mnwr/mnwr7.html.

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