NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Our national bird has decided to put its roots down in the city for the first time in at least a century.

The symbol of freedom, the bald eagle, soaring in New York City, evokes a sense of pride for those who catch a glimpse.

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“They’re amazing. I’m a veteran and they’re just amazing,” Gerard Pavlovsky told CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock.

The majestic creature can now be spotted with frequency along the south shore of Staten Island, and it’s not just a fly-by for photo ops, it appears to be for the long haul.

The pair built a nest and has laid eggs. Avid bird watcher Seth Wolney told CBS2 that he witnessed a changing of the guard.

“The bird that was sitting got up, flew off, and the bird that had just come in very gingerly ruffled it’s feathers and delicately sat down on the nest,” Wolney explained.

Woleny said that was proof the birds were cooking up their next generation of New Yorkers. The Executive Director of New York City Audobon said it’s a really big deal.

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“For many years we thought bald eagles weren’t going to survive,” Kathryn Heintz said.

The use of DDT in the mid 20th century nearly annihilated them. Just 10 pairs called New York State home in the 1980s.

“We now have over 200 nesting pairs in New York State,” she said.

Including the pair on Staten Island, who have been a draw for many.

But there are those who might cause the birds harm. So, people who know where the nest is won’t tell.

The bald eagle is a federally protected species. Advocates say protecting them will allow them to continue to thrive in the city.

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