Ohio exceeds milestone of 100 bald eagle nests

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COLUMBUS – A record-breaking 105 bald eagle nests have been verified by state wildlife officials so far this spring in Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.

“Reaching the milestone of 100 eagle nests is great news for Ohio, especially considering that only 25 years ago, eagles were nearly gone from our state,” said Steven Gray, chief of the Division of Wildlife.

“The bald eagle’s success is a good indicator of how habitat in Ohio has improved and of how eagles have adapted.”

A decline. In 1979, there were only four bald eagle pairs nesting in the state.

Pesticides and loss of habitat were major contributors to the eagles’ population decline.

To restore this national symbol in Ohio, the Division of Wildlife committed to a series of management actions, including habitat restoration, fostering young eagles, and extensive monitoring.

Record numbers. Ohio has seen record numbers of bald eagle nests during the last seven years, with nesting numbers far exceeding projected goals.

In 1979, a goal was set of achieving 20 nesting pairs by the year 2000. That goal was exceeded well before when 37 nesting pairs of bald eagles were verified in 1997.

Locations. It appears the bald eagle’s comeback is an ongoing success, not only in numbers, but also in how and where the eagles are nesting.

Beyond the traditional nesting sites along western Lake Erie, eagles are moving down state and establishing territories along large rivers and lakes.

The combination of large trees for nesting and ample supply of fish and other prey make for prime eagle habitat.

For the first time since 1962, a pair of bald eagles is nesting on Middle Bass Island.

Island chain, cities. The Division of Wildlife’s eagle biologist Mark Shieldcastle thinks there is great potential for additional nests in the island chain, including West Sister, Green and North Bass, in the near future

Bald eagle nests also are being found closer to populated areas. Current nests have been located within the city limits of Toledo, Lorain, and Kent.

An eagle pair also was found nesting in a goose-nesting tub at Killdeer Plains State Wildlife Area, an unusual site as the nest is located just 4-feet off the water’s surface and built on an artificial structure.

Division of Wildlife staff and trained volunteers monitor existing nests and continue to look for nests that have yet to be discovered.

Active nests. Active nests are located in the following 37 Ohio counties:

Ashtabula, 2; Coshocton, 1; Crawford, 1; Defiance, 1; Delaware, 1; Erie, 10; Geauga, 3; Guernsey, 1; Hancock, 1; Hardin, 1; Harrison, 1; Henry, 1; Holmes, 1; Huron, 2; Knox, 3; Lake, 1; Lorain, 2; Lucas, 5; Mahoning, 2; Marion, 1; Mercer, 1; Morgan, 1; Muskingum, 1; Noble, 1; Ottawa, 15; Pickaway, 1; Portage, 3; Putnam, 1; Richland, 1; Ross, 3; Sandusky, 14; Seneca, 4; Trumbull, 6; Tuscarawas, 1; Wayne, 1; Wood, 3; and Wyandot 7.

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