Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is hosting a Virtual Eagle Festival March 12–14, 2021. With the pandemic and continuing need for social distancing, this year’s activities will be conducted online, with programs taking place on Facebook (@BlackwaterNWR) and Zoom, while encouraging visitors to enjoy the refuge on their own. In addition, the Wildlife Drive will be free-of-charge on March 13 and 14 for those who wish to visit the refuge to see eagles and other wildlife.
The Eagle Festival will kick off on Facebook on March 12 at 12:00 p.m. with a welcome by refuge staff and a roundup of the best hotspots to see eagles at the refuge. This will be followed at 1:00 p.m. with a brief introduction to eagle identification.
On Saturday, March 13 at 10:00 a.m., join Mike Callahan of Nanjemoy Creek Environmental Education Center as he presents his program, “The Bald Eagle, Icon of Blackwater NWR and our National Symbol” with a live bald eagle. At 2:00 p.m., Tuckahoe State Park staff will give us a behind-the-scenes look at the Scales and Tales Aviary while answering commonly asked questions about eagles. Tune in for appearances by several live birds of prey!
On Saturday, March 13 at 11:30 a.m., join refuge staff for story and craft time as we watch together the picture book Owl Babies, and then make our very own ‘owl baby’ with a few basic supplies. A limited number of kits with all the necessary supplies will be available to pick up in advance. Registration is required for this Zoom program. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with “Owl Babies” in the subject line, and the names and number of children participating. Deadline to register for this program is March 12.
On Sunday, March 14 at 10:00 a.m., Mike Callahan returns to Facebook with live birds of prey for a program titled “Raptors Rule,” highlighting some of our native raptors of Maryland. At 1:00 p.m., gather the kids for a puppet show and learn all about the adventures of a young Canada goose as he explores the refuge’s habitats and discovers the animals that call Blackwater NWR home. At 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, check out the bald eagle highlight reel from the Friends of Blackwater, where they’ve captured some of the best videos from the four wildlife cameras on the refuge!
Tired of looking at your screen? Grab the family and head out to the refuge for a StoryWalk® where the kids can read the picture book Over in the Forest: Come and Take a Peek. Pages from the book will be installed along the Woods Trail beginning March 12 through the end of the month.
All online events will be monitored by refuge staff, who will be standing by to answer your questions during the programs. For more information and a schedule of programs, visit www.fws.gov/refuge/Blackwater. If you have any questions, please email us at fw5rw_BWNWR@fws.gov.
The Blackwater NWR Visitor Center remains closed for the month of March. Brochures, maps, and an introductory video are available at a self-service station in the breezeway of the Visitor Center from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Friday through Monday. For visitors with questions, or inquiries regarding purchasing a federal pass, “Text a Ranger” at 443-205-5290 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Friday through Monday. The Wildlife Drive and refuge trails remain open daily from sunrise to sunset.
To protect the health of those who live, work, and visit U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service public lands and facilities, face masks are required. They are also required outdoors when physical distancing is not possible, like on narrow or busy trails, boardwalks, and observation decks.
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, located on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, protects over 32,000 acres of rich tidal marsh, mixed hardwood and pine forest, managed freshwater wetlands and cropland for a diversity of wildlife. To learn more, visit our website at www.fws.gov/refuge/blackwater or @BlackwaterNWR.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.