Since 1782, the Bald Eagle has been America’s National symbol. From their majestic feathers to their wide wingspan, the Bald Eagles have been sought as some of the most coveted birds to look for in America.

Lucky for you, when you go on one of our scenic rail excursions, you’re almost always guaranteed to come across a Bald Eagle. Because of the clean water, tall trees and breathtaking environment, these birds have found a perfect home for them to thrive in.

If this is your first time on one of our trips, you may not be sure where to look for these birds, or not entirely sure what they may look like. We’re here to help! We’ve compiled a list of tips for finding these beautiful birds and what you need to know when looking for them. Take a look!

Physical Features

The bald eagle has several distinct features that make this bird easy to spot. Mainly covered in a dark brown coat, the bald eagle has a white head and tail features, and a yellow beak and talons that make this bird stand out.


Bald eagles tend to make their homes near large bodies of water, like rivers, lakes, canals and more, that are able to provide a food source. Within their home, this bird tends to found in a few different spots. The bald eagle can be observed high in the sky, perched in the tallest tree in the immediate area, or on a snag, which is a dead, leafless tree. This bird also makes its nest near large bodies of water, or are often placed in large conifer trees, deciduous areas or even cliff sides.

Best Times

Bald Eagles are most often sighted in winter due to migration, which usually begins in late fall. They’ll often stop in several places for extended periods of time before they move to a more permanent location. During the other times of the year, the bald eagle will be busy with nest construction, incubation and raising their young. These birds tend to be most visible in the early morning, from sunrise to roughly 10 a.m. During the afternoon, the bald eagle will likely be flying and hunting for food before returning to their nest when the sun goes down.


Most of our eagles will also await train visitors before passengers get to the 6-mile Trough. It’s almost as if they come out on cue to perform in all their spectacular style. Just follow along with these tips on bald eagle behaviors, and you may be able to find yourself one in our very own Potomac Eagle scenic excursion!

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