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Ohio's Bald Eagles

Updated: Nov 8, 2022

Explore Ohio Outdoors Bald Eagle Photo

“When a storm is coming, all other birds seek shelter. The eagle alone avoids the storm by flying above it. So, in the storms of life may you heart be like an eagle's and soar above.” Author Unknown

Catching a glimpse of a beautiful Bald Eagle in Ohio never gets old. These majestic birds are beginning to flourish once again thanks to conservation efforts. If you have a chance to see one of these magnificent birds, take a moment to enjoy this once endangered species.

Danger of Extinction

This national symbol once was in danger of extinction throughout most of the United States. Loss of habitat, illegal hunting, and the contamination of its food, largely due to the use of the pesticide DDT, destroyed the eagle population. In 1972, the Environmental Protection Agency took the historic and controversial step of banning the use of DDT in the United States.

Conservation Efforts Pay Off

In 1782, when America adopted the Bald Eagle as the National Symbol, it was estimated there were as many as 300,000-500,000 eagles. With about 100,000 being nesting pairs. By 1963, there were only 487 nesting pairs remaining in the lower 48 states. In 1978 the Bald Eagle was listed as endangered throughout the lower 48 states. Except in Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin where it was listed as threatened.

In 2007, the Bald Eagle was removed from the Endangered Species List. This is in part to the banning of DDT, public conservation, and the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Today it is estimated that there are more than 5000 nesting pairs and over 70,000 Bald Eagles in The United States of America.

Ohio’s Rebounding Bald Eagle Population

In 2020, ODNR asked for citizens to report all known Ohio Bald Eagle nests. The reporting period lasted from Feb. 1 to March 31. As of April 1, they were able to positively confirm 320 nests in 62 counties. The goal was to have the full report available on Earth Day, which is the day of this post. As soon as the totals are made available, we will share them with you.

***UPDATE - ODNR's final report is in. They have confirmed that there are 707 Bald Eagle nests in the state of Ohio***

The Nests

If you have ever seen a Bald Eagle nest you know that they are massive. They usually measure anywhere from 4 to 6 feet across and up to 6 to 10 feet deep. The first year they use the nest it is often small. Bald Eagles typically reuse the same nest year after year. Each year they add more sticks and building materials increasing its size. Their nests are the largest nest of any North American bird.

Bald Eagle nests are often built near large bodies of water. This is because the water and surrounding area can provide an adequate food supply. Nests are usually constructed in the tallest mature trees or cliffs. Wherever they choose, the support must be strong enough to handle the nest's great weight. Nests can weigh more than 1,000 pounds.

Watch the Skies

The Bald Eagle population is soaring in numbers. This provides many of us with a chance to see these beautiful birds of prey in flight. When you are out enjoying the many wonderful Ohio hiking trails, keep a watchful eye out for bald eagles. You might get lucky and see flashes of white as an eagle soars high above you.

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Steve J Dyar
Steve J Dyar

New nest under construction near Coonpath Rd.

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