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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

2014 Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge annual mid-winter eagle survey

Region 5, January 8, 2014

Staff and volunteers at Blackwater NWR successfully completed the Refuge’s 35th annual mid-winter eagle survey on January 8, 2014. This effort involved 8 refuge staff and 25 volunteers. Survey participants were located throughout the refuge at fixed observation sites for the two-part (roost and non-roost) survey. The non-roost (morning) count produced a total of 154 eagles as follows: 81 adult bald eagles, 49 immature bald eagles, 1 adult golden eagle, 1 immature golden eagle, and 22 unidentified eagles. The roost (evening) count produced 82 eagles as follows: 56 adult bald eagles, 24 immature bald eagles, 1 adult golden eagle, and 1 unidentified eagle. The eagle population at Blackwater NWR has been steadily increasing, with slight fluctuations, since 1980. The highest mid-winter survey numbers were those in 2011, with 189 eagles for the non-roost count and 178 eagles for the roost count. This year’s numbers were almost identical for the non-roost count, and down about 37% from last year’s roost count (more similar to numbers on the 2009 roost count). On the day of this year’s count average windspeed was about 4 mph, and temperatures were about 28°F. Last year’s average temperature was a mild 46°F.

Contact Info: Jennifer Lapis, (413) 253-8303, jennifer_lapis@fws.gov