Article Posted: March 13, 2005

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COLUMBUS, OH - Ohio’s bald eagle population continues to grow with 116 active nests identified so far this year, say wildlife biologists with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). In 2004, a record 108 bald eagle nests produced 127 eaglets.

“Ohio’s eagles are off to another great start,” said Steven A. Gray, chief of the Division of Wildlife. “Most of their nests are located along Lake Erie’s western marshes, but in the last few years more nests have been discovered inland as bald eagles expand their range throughout the state.”

Of the 116 nests, 72 pairs have laid eggs and begun incubation. Eight new eagle pairs have also been identified so far. Three of the new pairs are in Sandusky County, two in Wood County, and one each in Henry, Lucas, and Ottawa counties. The first hatch of eaglets for the year is anticipated to be March 14.

Active nests are located in the following 37 Ohio counties: Ashtabula (3), Coshocton (1); Crawford (1); Defiance (2); 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 (6); Mahoning (2); Marion (1); Mercer (1); Morgan (1); Muskingum (1); Noble (1); Ottawa (16); Pickaway (1), Portage (4); Putnam (1); Richland (1); Ross (3); Sandusky (17); Seneca (5); Trumbull (6); Tuscarawas (1); Wayne (1); Wood (5); and Wyandot (7).

Anyone who observes eagle-nesting activity should contact the state wildlife officer for that county, a wildlife district office, or call 1-800-WILDLIFE. Individuals are reminded that state and federal laws protect bald eagles and their nest sites. Any type of disturbance around a nest could cause the birds to abandon the site or discourage them from using the nest in the future.

The Division of Wildlife initiated the state’s bald eagle restoration program in 1979 when only four bald eagle pairs were known to be nesting in Ohio. The bald eagle management program is partially funded by donations to the state income tax check-off program for Wildlife Diversity and Endangered Species. Contributions to the fund can be made by checking line 24 on form 1040 or line 16 on EZ form of the 2004 state income tax refund.

The program is also funded by the sale of Ohio conservation license plates, including the bald eagle and cardinal plates. The license plates can be purchased through a deputy registrar license outlet, on the Internet at oplates.com or by calling the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles at 1-888-PLATES3.

Source: ODNR

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