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Off OhioBirds@Envirolink and PlanetOhio, an edited version:

January 24, 2002 RECORD NUMBER OF BALD EAGLES WINTERING IN OHIO Nearly 260 Eagles Spotted In 44 Ohio Counties OAK HARBOR, OH -- A recent survey of bald eagles in Ohio shows record numbers of the nation's symbol are wintering in the state, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. Wildlife officials completing the state's mid-winter eagle survey this week recorded a record 259 bald eagles, surpassing last year's record of 204. The survey included 147 adult eagles and 112 immature eagles (birds less than five years old). Wildlife biologists attribute the high number in part to this winter's mild weather as well as the growing number of resident bald eagles in the state. Observers found eagles in a record 44 counties during the two-week survey. The highest number of eagles were reported in counties along western Lake Erie with a county record of 53 eagles observed in both Erie and Ottawa counties. Other counties with high numbers of eagles observed included Trumbull County (19), Wyandot (18), Erie (11), and Muskingum (10). Eagles of breeding age usually remain in the state year-round. Cold temperatures and frozen waterways in upper Michigan and Canada could also be pushing resident birds from those areas temporarily into Ohio in search of open water. The continent-wide survey, coordinated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, is conducted by state wildlife officials each January to determine the wintering bald and golden eagle populations in North America. (Golden eagles are very rarely seen in the Buckeye State.) The survey includes a standardized aerial survey and observations from the ground by field personnel, a team of volunteers, and observations reported by local residents.

Only six bald eagles were observed statewide during the first winter survey conducted in 1979, the year the ODNR Division of Wildlife began the state's bald eagle restoration program. "This year's record number and high survey counts over the past several years indicate the nation's symbol continues to gain ground in Ohio," said Steve Gray, assistant chief of the ODNR Division of Wildlife. "As the breeding population of eagles continues to increase, we can expect the mid-winter surveys to increase as well." A record 106 young fledged from 74 nests in 26 Ohio counties during last year's nesting season. The state's bald eagle management program is partially funded by contributions to the State Income Tax Checkoff Program for Wildlife Diversity and Endangered Species. Contributions can be made by checking line 25 (form 1040) or line 17 (EZ form) on the 2001 state income tax form. 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 or by calling the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles toll-free at 1-888-PLATES3. EDITORS NOTE: A LIST OF EAGLES TALLIED BY COUNTY IS BELOW [COUNTY ,Adults Immatures . TOTAL ]

Adams Licking 1 1 Allen Logan Ashland 2 1 3 Lorain 1 1 Ashtabula 1 1 Lucas 8 8 Athens Madison Auglaize Mahoning 4 1 5 Belmont Marion 2 2 Brown Medina Butler Meigs Carroll Mercer 2 1 3 Champaign Miami Clark Monroe Clermont Montgomer 1 1 Clinton Morgan Columbiana Morrow 1 1 Coshocton 4 2 6 Muskingum 5 5 10 Crawford 1 1 Noble Cuyahoga 1 1 Ottawa 21 32 53 Darke Paulding Defiance 1 1 Perry Delaware 2 2 Pickaway 2 2 Erie 7 4 11 Pike 3 3 Fairfield Portage 5 4 9 Fayette Preble Franklin 1 1 2 Putnam Fulton Richland Gallia Ross 1 1 Geauga 5 5 Sandusky 21 32 53 Greene 1 1 Scioto 2 1 3 Guernsey 1 2 3 Seneca 3 2 5 Hamilton Shelby Hancock Stark Hardin Summit Harrison Trumbull 7 12 19 Henry 2 2 Tuscarawas 1 1 Highland 1 1 Union Hocking Van Wert Holmes Vinton 1 1 2 Huron 2 2 Warren 1 1 Jackson Washington 2 1 3 Jefferson 1 1 Wayne 2 2 Knox 1 1 Williams Lake 1 1 2 Wood 6 6 Lawrence Wyandot 12 6 18 TOTAL 147 112 259 2000-1 Winter.

 

January 2001 Ohiobirds@envirolink: Wildlife officials completing the state's mid-winter eagle survey this week recorded a record 204 bald eagles. The record number 127 adult eagles recorded well surpassed last year's record 108 eagles. The survey included 77 immature eagles (birds less than five years old), down from last year's count of 87. Wildlife biologists attribute the decrease to December's harsh weather that drove young eagles farther south than in previous years. Last year's eagle survey recorded 195 bald eagles across the state. The survey is conducted by state wildlife officials each January as part of a nationwide tally to determine the wintering bald and golden eagle populations in North America. The survey includes a standardized aerial survey and observations from the ground by field personnel and a team of volunteers. "The slightly lower number of immature eagles in the state is no surprise, and we expect these birds to return to areas where they fledged when a major thaw occurs. Eagles of breeding age usually remain in the state year-round," said Mark Shieldcastle, wildlife biologist with the Division of Wildlife. Last year, a record 63 bald eagle pairs nested in the state and raised a record 88 eaglets. Observers found eagles in a record 31 counties during this year's two-week survey. Last year 10 eaglets were raised in 9 nests in southern Ohio." Only six bald eagles were observed statewide during the first winter survey conducted in 1979, the year the Division began the state's bald eagle restoration program. Adams5,Licking1, Ashland1,Lorain1,Lucas18,Mahoning4,Marion1,Mercer2,Morgan1,Coshocton5,Muskingum10,Noble2,Cuyahoga1,Ottawa24,Delaware2,Erie26,Portage2,Franklin1,Ross4,Geauga3,Sandusky17,Scioto8,Guernsey1,Seneca17,Hamilton2,Trumbull11,Henry1,Van Wert1,Washington2,Jefferson1,Wayne2,Knox4,Williams1,Lake1,Wood11,Wyandot6 TOTAL204

2001 Ohio's bald eagles are having another successful nesting season, with a record 104 eaglets in nests across the state. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife, an impressive percentage of eagles were successful in incubating eggs, with 54 of 73 nesting pairs producing the 104 eaglets. Record eagle hatches over the past decade have contributed to Ohio's bald eagle baby boom. More than 500 young have fledged Ohio nests over the past 10 years. Last year, 63 breeding pairs reared 89 young. "When Ohio's Eagle Restoration Program began in 1979, there were only four nesting pairs in the state, and all were along Lake Erie," said ODNR Director Sam Speck. "Today, eagles nest in more than 25 counties across Ohio. Their resurging numbers are a testament to Ohio's wildlife management efforts, as well as those Ohioans who support our wildlife diversity programs." As the number of young eagles increases in Ohio, so does the number of resident nesting eagles. Bald eagles that reach breeding maturity are inclined to establish nesting territories in areas where they were reared. Ten new nests were confirmed this nesting season. Eagles usually lay two eggs. This year, a record 30 nests have twins and 10 nests hold triplets. Both female and male share in incubating the eggs, which hatch in 35 days. Adult birds feed their young a varied diet, ranging from fish and waterfowl to muskrats and groundhogs. Eaglets grow rapidly and are the same size as the adults with a wingspan of up to 7 feet by the time they are 15 weeks old. According to wildlife biologists, young birds do not acquire the characteristic white head and tail feathers until age 5 or 6. Young eagles are mottled brown and often mistaken for hawks. They learn to fly and leave the nest at about 12 weeks of age although the parent eagles stay nearby for the next month or two to protect and tend to the young if needed. Adult bald eagles are year-round residents of the state, while immature eagles (those that have not reached breeding maturity) migrate sporadically from October through March. They reach breeding maturity at three to four years of age and choose one mate for life. An eagle's lifespan in the wild is generally 15 to 20 years. The best locations for viewing eagles include the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge and Magee Marsh Wildlife Area (Ottawa County), Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area (Sandusky County), Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area (Wyandot County), Mosquito Creek Wildlife Area (Trumbull County) and along the Sandusky River watershed from Fremont to Tiffin. Observers are reminded that bald eagles and their nest sites are protected by state and federal laws. Any type of disturbance around a nest could cause the pair to abandon the nest or discourage them from using the nest in the future. The state's bald eagle restoration efforts are funded by the sale of the Ohio conservation license plates, including the bald eagle and cardinal plates. The license plates can be purchased through a deputy registrar license outlet or by calling the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles toll-free at 1-888-PLATES3. Funding is also provided by taxpayer contributions to the Wildlife Diversity and Endangered Species Fund through a check-off option on the state income tax form. For Further Information Contact: Melissa Hathaway, ODNR Division of Wildlife (419) 625-8062 or Andy Ware, ODNR Media Relations (614) 265-6882