Eagles Nest at Blackwater NWR


In my previous post I admitted driving 1.5 hours to chase a new lifer bird at Blackwater NWR, but I knew if I wasn’t successful in seeing or capturing the Tropical Kingbird, I would still have an awesome time with plenty of other birds to enjoy.  There is never a bad day at this refuge and it’s approx. seven-mile paved wildlife drive!

A special delight I was looking forward to seeing is the refuge’s famous Bald Eagle nest and its year-round resident pair you’ll find towards the end of the drive on your left, across the water in plain sight.


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Bald Eagles and their home in a loblolly pine tree


Although their nest is well-established, this Eagle pair will begin preparations in December for the nesting stage.  Their eggs will be laid late January to early February.  In 32-36 days, those eggs will hatch.


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Bald Eagles (male left, female right)


After a little chatter from the female, the male took flight.


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Male Bald Eagle leaving nest


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Male Bald Eagle dropping into flight as female looks away


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Male Bald Eagle on a mission, heading to the river


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Bald Eagle (female) awaits his return, hopefully with a nice fish for her!


49 thoughts on “Eagles Nest at Blackwater NWR

  1. Wow, that is a huge nest, they must have been working on it for years. I didn’t realize it took a month of brooding to hatch their eggs… that’s a long time!

    • It is huge, and has been in commission for several years. There is also a good chance it snows while they brood. The refuge has another Eagle nest with a webcam, I’ve watched it in years past, it’s scary to watch them brood with snow piling on top, almost covering them entirely. Sometimes an egg is lost but more times than not, they succeed with hatching still. Amazing!

  2. We went today and while I saw an empty nest in the distance, no bald eagles in it. But we saw a pair flying over the wildlife drive near the nest by the cam. Also saw what I think was an Eastern Phoebe and a mystery warbler type that I haven’t processed yet, plus egrets, herons, etc – but no kingbird. Still – as you say, always a beautiful day at Blackwater. We stopped for lunch in Cambridge at the Bombay Social restaurant. Great Indian food. Love your photos, as usual!

    • Thank you, Susan! A really nice day today to visit BNWR! Sorry you didn’t see the Tropical Kingbird. I read that it was hanging at the Visitor’s Center on poles, really close for photo ops yesterday. Of course, while we’re not there, right? I haven’t gotten my ebird daily to see if anyone saw it today. I haven’t checked media either. I got some other great shots at the refuge too, and was glad I went, just to see BNWR again, love that refuge! Looking forward to your photos that you got!

    • Thank you, Wayne! The refuge believes it is the same Eagle pair that originally started the nest several years ago. They live here year-round and are very protective of their nest the entire year. Ain’t no other Eagle going to take it easily! This refuge has several year-round Eagles, but come another another month or so, they will have 150+ Eagles who will have migrated there to spend their winter. You cannot go to this refuge and NOT see an Eagle during the winter, it is pretty awesome for Maryland!

    • Thank you, Simon! The female is usually bulkier and larger, and really you need the two side by side to tell them apart. If the weather plays out normal, it is scary to watch these Eagles brood during our snowfalls. The refuge has a webcam on another Eagle nest that in past years I watched it happen. You feel so bad for them. But they usually survive along with the eggs. It is amazing!

    • Thank you, Reed! I thought you would know it! 🙂 Oh my! That nest is getting bigger and bigger and bigger still! The loblolly pine looks pretty strong and healthy, thank goodness!!

  3. 👌👌👌📷❤️ in the wild I had the opportunity to see an eagle only twice in my life. It’s like a fairy tale. Beauty shots Donna❤️📷❤️

    • Thank you very much, Mic! I’ve traveled the country and have felt lucky if I even got to see one. But where I live now, I could very easily see one every day flying by in the sky. It is awesome and still a thrill each time! A magnificent raptor! 😊

    • Thank you, Sylvia! Hope you’re mending well with your hip! I’ve had a total knee replacement, recovery takes a long time with lots of rehab unfortunately. Stay strong and positive!

    • Thank you, Ashley! This nest is one of the major highlights of the refuge because it can be seen and enjoyed right from your car, as it is across from the wildlife drive in plain sight. 😊

  4. That nest is huge! How interesting that their eggs are laid in the coldest months of the year. Brrr… Thanks for the wonderful pictures, especially the ones of the male in flight.

    • Thank you, Barbara. It is quite the nest, and the loblolly pine tree is healthy looking so that is a plus. This refuge has another nest with a webcam on it, it is sad to see Momma brooding when snow is covering her and the nest. But for the most part, they survive miraculously, very few eggs are ever lost during that time. Strong bird!

  5. Terrific series of photographs of the eagles’ nest!

    My brother and I spent a night sleeping under the stars at Blackwater a LOT of winters ago. We awoke to a sky darkened by thousands of Canada Geese heading to nearby fields to feed. One of my best memories.

    • Thank you, Belinda! There are quite a few resident eagles around the Chesapeake Bay. In another month or so, migrant Eagles will be here for the winter. It gets real amazing some times to see so many Eagles at once if you’re in the RPRT!

  6. As usual Donna, your photography and descriptions bring nature’s blessings to us. It is remarkable how the Bald Eagle has recovered from near extinction back in the 1960s due to exposure to mankind’s use of DDT and other chemicals.

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