OHIOANS ASKED TO PARTICIPATE IN ANNUAL MID-WINTER EAGLE SURVEY
Volunteers urged to report any eagle activities observed until Tuesday, January 15
COLUMBUS, OH - Ohioans are encouraged to assist state wildlife biologists with the annual mid-winter eagle survey, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
Volunteers are urged to report any bald or golden eagle activities they observe between now and Tuesday, January 15 to the Crane Creek Wildlife Research Station at 419-898-0960.
The mid-winter survey is conducted each January as part of a nationwide tally to determine the wintering eagle populations in North America. Last year, 480 bald eagles were reported across Ohio, including 359 adults and 121 immature birds. The survey includes aerial observations, as well as monitoring from the ground by biologists.
"Today, there are more opportunities than ever for Ohioans to observe bald eagles in the wild, as the population of these magnificent birds continues to expand throughout the state," said Mark Shieldcastle, biologist with the Division of Wildlife. "The potential to see both resident eagles and those wintering-over is a reality in all parts of the state."
Observers are reminded not to approach a nest. Human interference prior to and during the nesting season may prompt an eagle pair to abandon a nest or discourage them from using it in the future. It is a violation of both state and federal law to disturb an eagle nest.
Most eagle nests in Ohio are located along the shores of Lake Erie, but a growing number are found well inland. A few of the viewable inland nest locations include: Delaware State Wildlife Area in Delaware County, Mercer Wildlife Area in Mercer County, Killdeer Plains State Wildlife Area in Marion and Wyandot counties, and Knox Lake State Wildlife Area in Knox County.
Other popular eagle-viewing areas include: Pickerel Creek State Wildlife Area and surrounding bay in Sandusky County, Magee Marsh State Wildlife Area and adjoining Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge in Ottawa and Lucas counties, Old Woman Creek State Nature Preserve in Erie County, Mosquito Creek State Wildlife Area in Trumbull County, Big Island Wildlife Area in Marion County, Dillon State Park in Muskingum County, and various areas along the Scioto River.
Ohio's bald eagle population has gone from only four active nesting pairs along southwestern Lake Erie in 1979 to the current modern-day record of 164 breeding pairs. Last year, 194 eaglets fledged from 116 successful nests in 39 Ohio counties.
Active nests were recorded last year in the following counties: Ashtabula (4), Brown (1), Coshocton (3), Crawford (3), Cuyahoga (1), Defiance (2), Delaware (4), Erie (12), Geauga (4), Guernsey (1), Hancock (2), Hardin (1), Harrison (1), Henry (1), Holmes (2), Huron (3), Knox (4), Lake (2), Licking (3), Lorain (2), Lucas (6), Mahoning (3), Marion (3), Mercer (2), Morgan (1), Morrow (1), Muskingum (2), Noble (1), Ottawa (23), Pickaway (1), Portage (4), Putnam (1), Richland (2), Ross (3), Sandusky (20), Seneca (6), Stark (1), Summit (1), Trumbull (10), Tuscarawas (2), Washington (1), Wayne (2), Wood (4), and Wyandot (8).
Golden eagles are rarely seen in Ohio. However, a few have been observed over-wintering in the Buckeye State in recent years. The number of sightings is expected to increase as the golden eagle population in the eastern Arctic expands, and as reintroduction efforts in Georgia and Tennessee enjoy success.
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, as well as the management and study of bald eagles. Purchase of the bald eagle license plate can be made online at OPLATES.com, from a deputy registrar's office, or by calling the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles at 1-888-PLATES3.
Matching federal funds are provided through the State Wildlife Grant Program for the eagle restoration project and other wildlife diversity efforts of the Division of Wildlife that target species of greatest conservation need.
Additional funding for bald eagle restoration is derived from contributions to the state's income tax check-off program, which supports wildlife diversity and endangered species. Eagle restoration efforts also can be supported by donations via the Internet.