By Claudia Larsen
When students returned for the 2018 spring semester they were greeted by an interesting surprise: the MSMC campus had recently gained its very own pair of bald eagles who are nesting in a large tree next to The Villa. One of the first people to discover the pair, Dr. Doug Robinson, had a lot to say about them and what they mean for the campus.
Robinson is an associate professor of biology at the Mount as well as a bird biologist. He found out about the eagles during an open house at the start of the semester.
“People were coming up to me and saying they had seen eagles on campus, and as a bird biologist I thought ‘eh’ because lots of people mistake eagles for what are really hawks,” said Robinson. “But, sure enough, there was a pair of bald eagles on campus.”
Robinson has past experience with eagles, as he has performed studies on them before. He is currently studying crows, as MSMC harbors many on its campus, but may return to eagles since he has been given the opportunity to be up close and personal with a pair.
Many students took the eagles’ presence as an omen about the outcome in the 2018 Super Bowl. While Robinson doesn’t doubt this, he feels that the eagles more so mean good fortune in the Mount’s future.
He said that the eagles have given the department of natural science an interesting opportunity.
“What this has done is brought attention to the division, that people are excited about biology. Our national symbol is nesting on campus,” said Robinson. “This is one of fewer than a couple hundred pairs in New York state, and as a statewide threatened species this is unheralded.”
According to Robinson the nesting process could take a few months, and even after that the eagles may not lay eggs – so keep your fingers crossed, MSMC!