Eagle Cam Questions and Answers

For those who want to know more about the nesting behavior of Chesapeake Bay eagles (incubation, hatching, etc.) be sure to check out our Eagle Facts page.

The following are the most frequently emailed questions regarding the Eagle Cam at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). We hope this information helps you learn more about the cam:

If eagles hang out at the Osprey Cam nest, why don't they raise their young there?

Answer: The eagles like perching at the Osprey Cam nest (after the ospreys have migrated) because it is near the river and offers a good view of their fishing grounds. But the man-made platform is very shallow and is not in a tree, so the eagles would not nest there. Also, it's very close to our Wildlife Drive, and while ospreys don't mind being relatively close to people during nesting season, the eagles prefer their privacy.

Is this the same eagle couple as last year?

Answer: We're not sure if it's the same couple, since we don't band eagles at the Refuge. Bald eagles do mate for life and are very loyal to their nest sites, so an eagle pair will usually return to their previous nest, assuming they have not built a back-up nest.

Do the eagle parents migrate south?

Answer: Chesapeake Bay bald eagles don't migrate like ospreys. During the winter when the rivers freeze over and the fish are no longer accessible, our bald eagles have access to other food items, such as waterfowl, small animals, and even carrion, so they can stay in the area rather than migrate. Bald eagles from northern states often migrate down to Blackwater NWR during the winter because the area has so much food; this is why the Refuge holds a mid-winter eagle survey in January, when our eagle numbers are at their highest.

Is there a light shining on the eagles at night?

Answer: The Eagle Cam uses infrared technology (like the military uses) to provide "night vision," so there is no light shining on the eagles in the evening—it just looks that way.

What happens to the eaglets from previous seasons?

Answer: The eaglets from previous seasons take about four years to mature. In the meantime, they'll wander around the Chesapeake Bay area, exploring and improving their hunting skills. They might even strike out to visit other states before returning to Blackwater NWR in the future when they're ready to breed.

Are you tracking the eaglets from previous seasons?

Answer: We don't regularly band and track eagles at Blackwater NWR, so no, we are not following their movements.

Return to the Blackwater NWR Eagle Cam or the Cam Central page.