The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation recently opened the new Dr. Ted Kerpez Memorial Eagle Viewing Blind at the Mongaup Valley Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in the Town of Forestburgh, Sullivan County. Kerpez, who directed the DEC region's wildlife program, died suddenly in December 2018. Mongaup Valley WMA includes more than 11,000 acres of land and was initially acquired for the primary purpose of protecting critical wintering habitat for bald eagles. It has been designated a Bird Conservation Area because of its unique combination of habitats important to bird species, including forests, reservoirs, and river habitat. The eagle blind is accessible to people of all ages and abilities, and provides an ideal location to view wintering eagles in a shelter that minimizes any disturbance to wildlife. It is located on Sullivan County Route 43 facing the Mongaup Falls Reservoir. Winter is the best time to observe eagles in the area, with concentrations peaking in January and February. Most of these majestic birds head back to their nests by mid-March. In winter, eagles tend to congregate around areas of open water, especially when cold weather causes ice to form on many open waterbodies.