2022-23 Waterfowl Surveys

Weekly waterfowl surveys have commenced and can be found on our Birding Page.

Wildlife Drive Closure Dates

A majority of the Wildlife Drive and refuge trails will be CLOSED on the following date for deer management hunts, which will significantly limit public access. The Pool 5 loop of Wildlife Drive (western portion) will remain open free-of-charge, as will the Visitor Center.

  • Friday, January 6, 2023

Some refuge trails will also be closed on other hunt days. For a full listing of deer hunt-related closures, please see this document.

2022-23 Hunting Information

Information for this year's deer and waterfowl hunts is now available on our hunting page.

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) was established in 1933 as a waterfowl sanctuary for birds migrating along the Atlantic Flyway.

Visit Us

With over 20,000 acres open for public recreation, you can experience the refuge year round in a variety of ways!  From 5 miles of hiking to 17 miles of paddling, we have a variety of experiences.  Nearly 15,000 acres are open for deer hunting from September through January.  If you prefer to travel by car, we have 3.6 mile wildlife drive popular with photographers and birders alike.

Location and Contact Information

      About Us

      Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, located 12 miles south of Cambridge, Maryland, was established in 1933 as a refuge for migratory birds. Habitats of the refuge include rich tidal marsh, mixed hardwood and loblolly pine forests, managed freshwater wetlands and croplands. It serves as an important resting and feeding area for migrating and wintering waterfowl, and is one of the chief wintering areas for Canada geese using the Atlantic Flyway. The refuge supports one of the highest concentrations of nesting bald eagles on the Atlantic coast.

      Our Species

      Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge is home to an incredible amount of plant and animal diversity in its three major habitats – forest, marsh and shallow water. The refuge contains one-third of Maryland's tidal wetlands, which makes it an ecologically important area within the state. It serves as an important resting and feeding area for migrating and wintering waterfowl, and is one of the chief wintering areas for Canada geese using the Atlantic Flyway. Blackwater NWR is home to the largest natural population of formerly endangered Delmarva peninsula fox squirrels and is also home to the largest breeding population of American bald eagles on the East Coast, north of Florida.

      This large, slate grey tree squirrel (Sciurus niger cinereus) has an unusually full, fluffy tail and white belly. Larger than common gray squirrels, this fox squirrel subspecies measures up to 28 inches long and weighs up to three pounds. Once found throughout the Delmarva Peninsula, the range...

      FWS Focus

      A large raptor, the bald eagle has a wingspread of about seven feet. Adults have a dark brown body and wings, white head and tail, and a yellow beak. Juveniles are mostly brown with white mottling on the body, tail, and undersides of wings. Adult plumage usually is obtained by the sixth year. In...

      FWS Focus

      Our Library