Nature Conservancy Staff Confirm Nesting Bald Eagles at Mashomack Preserve, Shelter Island

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Nesting site is only the third known in the Long Island region in recent times.

March 18, 2014

Staff from The Nature Conservancy confirmed today the presence of a pair of nesting Bald Eagles at The Conservancy’s Mashomack Preserve on Shelter Island, New York. The eagle nest at Mashomack Preserve is just the third known nesting site in the Long Island region in recent times.    

Tucked away high in an oak tree in a remote, hard to access location, the birds were discovered by Nature Conservancy’s Preserve Manager Mike Scheibel, who said, “Bald eagles have recently become a regular sight on Shelter Island. We are extremely pleased to find them nesting on the Mashomack Preserve where years ago The Nature Conservancy preserved this land as a secure nesting area for ospreys. It is indeed rewarding to know that this valuable habitat is now also home to our national symbol.” 

Edged in white by 12 miles of coastline, Mashomack Preserve on Shelter Island is considered one of the richest habitats in the Northeast. Just 90 miles from New York City, the preserve covers a third of Shelter Island with 2,039 acres of interlacing tidal creeks, mature oak woodlands, fields, and freshwater marshes and is often referred to as the "Jewel of the Peconic Bay." 

“The fact that bald eagles are nesting at Mashomack speaks to the value of preserved land and its significance for wildlife,” said Michael Laspia, director of Mashomack Preserve. “We couldn’t be happier that our national bird is gracing us with its presence—and we hope this majestic species has a successful season rearing its young here.” 

Mashomack was purchased by The Nature Conservancy 34 years ago, in an effort to stop development of this nearly pristine peninsula and to protect an important concentration nesting ospreys along the northeast coast. 

The bald eagle is an opportunistic feeder and subsists mainly on fish, although capable of catching live fish bald eagles are primarily scavengers feeding on dead fish found on the beach or stolen from ospreys. Ensuring that healthy fish populations—and good water quality is maintained in the Peconic Bay and other Long Island waters is a top priority for The Conservancy. 

“Decades ago, protecting land was enough to ensure the survival and viability of our local wildlife, but today our efforts are concentrated on keeping the lands and especially the waters around Long Island clean and healthy,” said Nancy Kelley, executive director of The Nature Conservancy on Long Island. “It’s especially important that we do everything we can to avert threats—like nitrogen pollution in our waters –so that our majestic wildlife species can survive and thrive here.”

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at

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