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DNR Offers Rare Opportunity To View Bald Eagle
Eagle Watch program to be held at Pocomoke River State Forest and Park January 15th
SNOW HILL – The Maryland State Forest and Park Service is pleased to announce that one of the nation’s most beloved national symbols, the bald eagle, has found its way back to Pocomoke River State Forest and Park. Marylanders from across the state are expected to flock to the park on Saturday, Jan. 15, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. to participate in a rare opportunity to view this most majestic of birds. Reservations are required for the Eagle Watch and a small charge applies.
According to Karen Garrett, Park Naturalist at Pocomoke River State Forest and Park, “The American bald eagle usually arrives in late December, and continues to roost in an area of the park less visited.” The bald eagle travels to milder temperatures during winter months. Eagles have been spotted hunting and feeding on fish on the open water of the Pocomoke River and undisturbed habitat.
Program participants will join the park naturalist on a short walk (1/2 mile to a mile total) to the roosting site located in an area closed off to the public. From there, participants will explore the roosting sites of several bald eagles, discover what they eat, listen for their calls, and spot signs the birds left behind. Bringing a pair of binoculars will allow for a better view of the birds and all participants are encouraged to carry bottled water and dress appropriately for the cold weather and terrain with proper footwear and clothing. Don’t forget that all-important camera!
Once endangered, the bald eagle’s numbers have increased dramatically over the past two and a half decades. In Maryland, the number of nesting eagles has increased significantly since the mid-1970s, with 383 pairs nesting in 2004 (compared to 41 pairs in 1977). The ban on the use of DDT and other pesticides in 1972 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency started the recovery. DDT caused the eagles to lay thin-shelled eggs, which cracked during the incubation process. Cracked eggs do not produce young. Once this pesticide was no longer used, the environment was able to slowly rid itself of the contaminant and eagles started to nest successfully. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and others continue to protect nesting sites under the authority of the Endangered Species Act.
Reservations are required for the Eagle Watch program and can be made by calling the Pocomoke River State Forest and Park at 410-632-2566, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is a service charge of $3 per person. For more information on outdoor recreational opportunities offered at Pocomoke River State Park, visit our website at http://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/eastern/pocomokeriver.html
For more information about bald eagles in Maryland, visit http://www.dnr.state.md.us/wildlife/baldeagle.html
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 446,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov