BALD EAGLES AT MASONVILLE
BALD EAGLE FACTS
Bald eagles are one of the largest and most iconic birds in America. Adults have chocolate-brown feathers on their bodies and bright white feathers on their heads and tail feathers. Younger eagles are entirely brown or have a mix of brown and white feathers until they are about five years old. Eagles of all ages have bright yellow eyes, bills, and legs.
Adult eagles are one of the largest raptors in North America. They can grow to be 2 to 3 feet long, weigh nearly 14 pounds, and have a wingspan of 6.5 feet.
Bald eagles can be found throughout North America. They are particularly widespread in the winter, during their nonbreeding season.
Eagles live in coastal areas and near water. This includes rivers, lakes, marshes, and reservoirs. They also rely on forested areas with tall trees for nesting.
Bald eagles are primarily carnivores (meat eaters) and rely on fish they catch in the waters near where they live. Eagles are opportunistic, though, and will also eat reptiles, mammals, other birds, and even dead animals.
Eagles reach maturity at about 5 years old. This is also when they will have their full adult plumage with the distinctive white feathers on their heads. Eagles can live about 15 to 30 years in the wild.
Source: Cornell Lab of Ornithology, https://www.birds.cornell.edu/home/
MEET THE EAGLES
Masonville Cove is home to Baltimore City's first known pair of nesting Bald Eagles!
The eagle pair was first spotted at Masonville Cove in December 2018. While single eagles are frequently seen near Baltimore and the Chesapeake Bay, seeing a pair together at that time of year was a strong indication that they were looking to nest. It was incredibly exciting to watch the eagles start to build a nest in a large tree on the campus soon after.
The eagles successfully hatched and raised two eaglets in Spring 2019. During the time the eagles were nesting, USFWS and other Masonville Cove partners monitored the eagles' behavior and took steps to make sure the eagles weren't disturbed by people. USFWS banded the eagles late in the spring.
Masonville's adult eagles were back again in Spring 2020. They chose to use the same nest they built in 2019, and went on to raise two more healthy eaglets!
In 2021 the pair returned to Masonville and created a new nest out of sight from our eagle camera. Away from the limelight, the adult eagles successfully raised three healthy eaglets. It's incredibly exciting and rewarding to see the eagles at Masonville, since it shows the quality and value of the Cove habitat for wildlife.
As the 2022 spring nesting season progresses here at Masonville the adult eagles have returned but did not produce a nest. The pair remains in the area and can be seen diving for fish at the Cove. We aim to bring you more pictures and videos of our feathery friends, so stay tuned for digital updates on the love birds!
BALD EAGLE SPOTTING TIPS
Some restrictions are in place at Masonville Cove to help prevent the eagles from being disturbed while they are nesting. You can still view the eagles from the back deck of the Education Center and from the Captain's Trail on the campus.
The best places to view the nest are the back deck and mid-way down the Captain's Trail. Look toward the treeline along the Sycamore Trail. The nest is toward the top of the tree. It looks large and branchy. If the eagles are on the nest you may be able to see them with binoculars or a birding scope.
The eagles won't always be on the nest, particularly early in their nesting period. Look for the eagles flying around the cove or perched on the limb of a tree near the water.
You can spot the eagles by looking for large, black or brown birds with white heads. Eagles will stand out because of their size (they are much, much larger than most other birds that live at Masonville Cove) and their white heads.
Imagine what life would be like as a Bald Eagle! Would it be easy to survive, or would there be challenges? In this interactive game students pretend to live like eagles and learn about how wildlife conservation efforts have helped eagles. This lesson can be paired with a short distance learning presentation from Port of Baltimore educators.