ALLEGANY, NY — For Allegany environmentalist and photographer Dan Jordan, his passion for bald eagles came later in his life.
Jordan, whose responsibilities for Amphenol Aerospace includes a role as director of international business development for ceramic products, has been working various jobs as a chemist even before his graduation from St. Bonaventure University in 1976. He decided to start his photography business, Jordan Photography and Consulting, about eight years ago.
“I was grooming it to be retirement income, and it's really evolved into much more than that,” Jordan said. “I work during the week and then spend all my weekends doing photography. … My real passion, though, is bald eagles.”
Jordan, 66, got hooked on photographing bald eagles a few years ago after a close encounter with the bird.
“One Saturday morning in February three years ago, I was driving home from my haircut appointment… and there was an eagle on my front lawn — on a tree in my front lawn,” Jordan said. “I was as shocked as a person can be. I ran in my house, and I was ill-equipped. I had a 200 mm lens. I came out, and I had about four photos before the bird got annoyed with me and flew off. Ever since then I’ve been hooked. I literally cannot leave my house today without seeing a bald eagle because I know where to look.”
Jordan currently monitors between 35 and 40 nests in Western New York.
“I have interacted with the Department of Environmental Conservation in New York a few times,” Jordan said. “I’ve told them about nests they didn’t necessarily know about, and I saw an injured eagle one time and reported it and got them involved right away.”
Jordan not only photographs the bird; he started hosting presentations for schools and communities last year.
“I like to consider myself an eagle authority,” Jordan said. “I know millions of facts about eagles, and I don’t just show pictures. I talk about them going on the endangered species list and coming off the endangered species list. The population in New York State at one time got as low as six pairs. Now I’ve got 20 pairs within 20 miles of Olean, so they’ve really made a huge recovery.”
Jordan will be the featured speaker at the Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce’s “Lunch and Learn” Tuesday, from noon to 1 p.m., at the GOACC office, 301 N. Union St. The event is free for chamber members and $10 for non-members.
Jordan says that he hopes people who attend the event learn something about bald eagles and that if they pay attention, they’ll see them in the wild.
“All my friends say, ‘I’ve never seen an eagle, I’ve never seen an eagle,’ " Jordan said. “I say you’re just not looking. You either don’t know where to look or you’re just not paying attention.”
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