Wildlife Cams

Left: bald eagle - Woody Dawson. Right: osprey - Woody Dawson.

In 2001, the Friends of Blackwater (Friends) embarked on a new project whereby they mounted a small camera on an osprey nesting platform near the Wildlife Drive at the refuge. Images were then wirelessly transmitted to a monitor at the Visitor Center and also to the Friends of Blackwater website. Every season since 2001, the Friends have operated the osprey cam and allowed visitors at the refuge, and on the Friends' website, to witness the miracle of seeing numerous osprey chicks hatch and fledge.

The osprey cam is live throughout the year, even though the ospreys are only on the nest from March through September. After the ospreys migrate to South and Central America in the fall, bald eagles take over the osprey platform and use it as a riverside perch, so the Friends leave the osprey cam on all year to allow cam watchers to see the visiting bald eagles.

Due to the overwhelming success of the osprey cam, the Friends decided to mount a camera over an active bald eagle nest on the refuge property beginning in 2004. The live eagle cam proved even more popular than the osprey cam, and numerous eaglets hatched and fledged on the cam. The cam eagles unfortunately began experiencing problems in 2016, and after a couple of years of failed nesting, abandoned the nest in 2018. The Friends and refuge staff are currently exploring a new possibility for an eagle cam, and with luck it will be active by 2020.

In 2018, the Friends installed a new camera at the refuge. Centrally located in Blackwater's largest constructed freshwater wetland (Pool 3), the cam captures the activities of waterfowl, waterbirds, and other wildlife that visit the wetland. The most activity on this cam can be seen in fall and winter, when migratory waterfowl are abundant at the refuge.

Visit the Friends of Blackwater Cam Central page to find links to the cams, links to the cam web logs and past image galleries, and fact sheets and FAQs about wildlife species and the cams.