Record number of eagles at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
Now’s the time to see bald eagles in the Northeast, but the eastern shore of Maryland is a great spot to see abundant bald eagles throughout the year. Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge hosts the greatest nesting density of breeding bald eagles on the East Coast, north of Florida. Wintering eagles are drawn to the refuge by the abundance of migratory geese and ducks.
Blackwater refuge’s annual mid-winter eagle survey wrapped up last month with a whopping 207 eagles–the highest in 36 years! Staff and 25 volunteers braved the cold temperatures and staked out areas across the refuge to spot eagles at their roosts in the evenings and on the hunt for food elsewhere in the mornings. Even two golden eagles were spotted.
The last record was in 2011, with 178 eagles, meaning this is also the first time the record broke the 200 mark.
The eagle population at Blackwater has been steadily increasing with slight fluctuations since 1980. Results continue to suggest an increasing population, with 125 immature bald eagles counted this year.
Did you see an eagle this past weekend? Make sure send it in for the Great Backyard Bird Count. Whenever you head out to look for eagles or other wildlife, use these tips to avoid stressing critters out.
Also…Check out this news story about a Delaware News Journal citizen science project that found bald eagles in almost every part of the state and into Maryland and Pennsylvania. A big change from the mid 1980s, when just four nests were confirmed in the state. Our eagle experts are in it!