Record number of eagles at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

Bald eagles are easier to see perched in the trees this time of year. Credit: Jessica Bolser/USFWS

Bald eagles are easier to see perched in the trees this time of year. Credit: Jessica Bolser/USFWS

Bald eagle closeup. Credit: Bruce Hallman/USFWS

Bald eagle closeup. Credit: Bruce Hallman/USFWS

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.

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Ray Paterra/USFWS

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Ray Paterra/USFWS

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.

Child viewing wildlife at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: USFWS

Child viewing wildlife at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: USFWS

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!

One Comment on “Record number of eagles at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: