The word aerie refers to a nest that is built on a high place, usually a cliff, but it is commonly used to denote an eagle's nest, as in an eagle's aerie.
People come to Mason Neck State Park because the bay is astounding, and you don't have crowds of people all over the place…they come to get away from it all.
It's not unusual to see a bald eagle flying back to its nest while we're out hiking or canoeing at the park. Eagles and other birds of prey were nearly wiped out before DDT (a synthetic pesticide) was banned in 1972. Consumption of the insecticide caused the shells of the birds' eggs to thin; the birds crushed their developing young under their own weight.
The Interior Department took the American bald eagle off the endangered species list June 28, 2007. Today Bald Eagles are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Disturbance can cause the adult eagles to abandon their nest, causing the eggs or chicks to die.
Right now there are at least 5 pair of bald eagles nesting near the park property. Babies will live in the nest through June. You may have the chance to see them soaring in the sky when you visit Mason Neck.
Come see our eagle display at our new visitor center, or meet Ricardo, Interpretive Ranger, as he offers programs on eagles, osprey and hawks in the park.