Eagle Watching in Southcentral Pennsylvania
Blue Mountain, stretches 150 miles through Pennsylvania, a continuous ridge broken only by water gaps of the major rivers crossing its path. It spans the entire Southcentral Region and extends far below the state line.
The region is framed on the west and north edge by the Allegheny Front. Between these two defining geologic features are rows of long, narrow mountain ridges and tillable valleys that vary in width. Many ridgetops in this Ridge and Valley Province are evenly spaced and parallel each other, while in other areas, two ridges may run together forming a distinct v-shape.
Appalachian Oak Forest covers most of the mountains and exposed sections of boulder slides are common. Weather on the Allegheny front is especially harsh and many ridgetops beyond are windswept. In this region, cold fronts are often followed by driving north winds, the fuel in autumn for migrating birds. Birds, most notably raptors, use the ridges as corridors on their southbound flights.
Thousands of birds, including hawks, eagles and falcons sail past Waggoner's Gap on Blue Mountain and The Pulpit on Tuscarora Mountain during autumn migration. Both sites are good places to see eagles in migration. The Allegheny Front is another raptor migration corridor where many of golden eagles of the eastern United States make their annual southbound trip in late autumn and return north in late winter and early spring.
Man-made lakes are scattered across the region and rivers, including the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River, which meanders through the northern half of the region, the Juniata River and a portion of the Susquehanna River, flow through.
Bald Eagle Viewing Sites