Bald eagles making Ohio comeback 7.16

Written by David Green.

Reflecting national trends, Ohio's bald eagle population continues to grow in numbers and expand in territory. Biologists with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife count a record high of 184 nests in the state this year, the twenty-first consecutive year that the state's breeding bald eagle population increased.

Of those 184 nests, 119 were known to be successful in producing young eagles; a determination of success could not be made at 16 other nests.  Current reports from wildlife biologists and volunteer observers estimate 222 total young eagles hatched in nests in 43 Ohio counties. At least 203 of these eaglets have already fledged. 

"The success bald eagles have had in Ohio in recent years had allowed the division to downgrade the status of the bald eagle from endangered to threatened," said David M. Graham, chief of the Division of Wildlife, citing the April approval from the Ohio Wildlife Council to put the bald eagle, osprey, and peregrine falcon on the state's threatened list. 

Last year, Ohio marked 164 nests, with 115 of those nests producing 194 eaglets. This year, 21 new nests have been identified in 18 counties.

In the second year since being removed from the federal Endangered Species List, bald eagles have made a dramatic comeback. Since 1979 - when only four bald eagle pairs were found in the state - the Division of Wildlife has helped reestablish Ohio's eagle population through habitat development and protection; fostering of young eagles; and extensive observation of eagle nesting behavior.

Most eagle nests in Ohio are located along the shores of Lake Erie, but now some are well inland, including nests in Delaware, Hancock, Mercer and Wyandot counties. Counties with new nests in 2008 were Ashland (1), Belmont (1), Columbiana (1), Erie (2), Geauga (1), Highland (1), Lorain (1), Lucas (1), Mahoning (1), Ottawa (2), Pickaway (1), Richland (1), Ross (1), Sandusky (1), Trumbull (1), Tuscarawas (1), Wood (1), and Wyandot (2).  A majority of the nests occur on private land.

An average eagle nest ranges from 3 to 5 feet in width and 3 to 6 feet in depth.  The nests are usually built high in a tall tree.  Both male and female eagles share in the incubation and feeding of the young, which begin to leave the nest at about 12 weeks of age. An adult bald eagle has snow-white head and tail feathers. Its body color is very dark brown, almost black. Yellow eyes, beak, and feet accent the bird's appearance. Young eagles do not achieve this appearance until the age of 5 or 6 years. Until that time, they are uniformly dark brown from head to tail feather. Their undersides are mottled white with buff and cream blotches.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife's work with bald eagles is funded through the sale of the bald eagle license plate.  Proceeds from the sale of this plate are devoted to acquisition of habitat, management, and study of the bald eagle.  To purchase the bald eagle license plate, contact your local deputy registrar or call the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles at 1-888-PLATES3.

Funding is provided, in part, through the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service State Wildlife Grants Program, which benefits species of greatest conservation need. Additional funding for bald eagle restoration is derived from contributions to the Wildlife Diversity and Endangered Species Fund through a check-off on the Ohio state income tax form.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016