I don’t care how often it happens, the sight of a bald eagle soaring overhead always takes my breath away. There is a pair that looks as though they’ve set up housekeeping near the stable and watching their aerial mating dance is a rare gift.
This weekend is the annual Eagle Festival at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. There’s a full day of nature activities focusing on the eagles, of course, but including most of the wildlife that call the refuge home. It starts with a bird walk at 8 AM. Bring binoculars and a camera and catch the birds while they are still getting started in the morning. Falcon, eagle, owl, and other birds of prey will be featured in programs throughout the day. Three eagle prowls will head out into the refuge to try to spot the bald eagles who are nesting on the grounds. Budding wildlife photographers can pick up tips during the workshop with John Lore. Native American music and lore will be provided by Ron Warren.
Kids activities start at 10:30 with ‘build your own’ blue bird box instruction, design and make your own t-shirt and buttons, an ‘endangered species’ puppet show, a chance to learn about what’s in an owl ‘pellet’ and how that tells you about the health of the bird, and constructing a ‘edible eagle.’ Birders will be outside to help kids spot and identify birds in the area.
Exhibitors include the Tri-State Bird Rescue and research and birds of prey from the Salisbury Zoo, Raptor’s Eye, and the Carrie Murray Nature Center. If you forget binoculars or decide that close-up birding is for you, Wild Birds Unlimited Optics will happily supply you with gear. Kathy Boyle Carvings and Jewelry will be selling a line of nature themed gifts. Food and drinks are also available.
The event is free and runs from 8:30-4 PM. For a complete schedule, check the website of the Friends of Blackwater: http://www.friendsofblackwater.org/Eagle_Festival_2011.pdf or call 410-901-6124.