New Eagle at Montezuma Refuge, NY

Montezuma Eagle

Refuge manager Tom Jasikoff commissioned Trumansburg artist James Seaman to create the sculpture. (Photo: Andrea Van Beusichem)

November 1, 2016 - In honor of the 40th anniversary of New York State’s bald eagle reintroduction program – which largely happened at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, NY – there is a grand new eagle sculpture along the refuge’s Wildlife Drive.

Refuge manager Tom Jasikoff commissioned Trumansburg artist James Seaman to create the sculpture which has a 21-foot wingspan. The body, armature and branch are made of steel.  The head and tail are stainless steel. Each feather was individually cut, hand-forged, welded into place and bent into position.  Seaman was a carpenter who became a self-taught artist in wood and metal.

Making Montezuma Eagle

Each feather was individually cut, hand-forged and welded into place. (Photo: Ed Wolf)

Montezuma Eagle

The new eagle sculpture at Montezuma Refuge has a wingspan of 21 feet. (Photo: Andrea Van Beusichem)

During the 1800s and early 1900s, there were more than 70 nesting pairs of bald eagles in New York State. By 1960, only one bald eagle nest remained.  Chemicals like DDT polluted the eagle’s prey and poisoned the eagles, resulting in such thin eggshells that the eggs could not survive to hatching.  Beginning in 1976, young eagles were brought to Montezuma from other states and fed by staff and volunteers until they were old enough to fly.  By 1980, 23 bald eagles had been released on the refuge. Now there can be as many as 60 bald eagles on the refuge at one time. 

The bald eagle is protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, but they are no longer listed as threatened or endangered.

Bald eagle fact sheet – link to pdf bald eagle fact sheet

Great places to see bald eagles on national wildlife refuges (in addition to Montezuma)