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Great Lakes Article:

Help wanted to keep eye on eagles
Port Clinton News Herald

COLUMBUS -- Outdoor enthusiasts and other Ohioans are encouraged to assist state wildlife biologists with their annual mid-winter eagle survey, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.

Wildlife biologists ask residents to report any bald or golden eagle activities they observe between now and Jan. 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's survey recorded 304 bald eagles across Ohio, including 167 adults and 137 immature birds. The survey includes an aerial survey, as well as observations from the ground by state wildlife 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 ODNR Division of Wildlife. "Eagles become more active with nest building and courting activities this time of year and since there is no foliage on trees the birds are easier to spot."

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 state and federal law to disturb an eagle nest.

Most eagle nests in Ohio are located along the shores of Lake Erie, but some are found well inland. Some viewable inland nest locations include Delaware State Wildlife Area in Delaware County, Salt Fork State Park in Guernsey County, Killdeer State Wildlife Area in Marion and Wyandot counties, and Knox Lake State Wildlife Area in Knox County.

Other popular viewing areas where eagles are seen 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; DilIon State Park in Muskingum County; and various areas along the Scioto River.

Ohio's nesting bald eagle population has gone from only four active nesting pairs along southwestern Lake Erie in 1979 to the current modern-day record of 88 breeding pairs. Last year, 105 eaglets fledged from 59 successful nests in Ohio.

Golden eagles are rare in Ohio. In recent years, however, a few have been observed over-wintering in the Buckeye State.

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 land, management, and study of the bald eagle. To purchase the bald eagle license plates, contact the local deputy registrar or call the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles at 1-888-PLATES3.

Additional funding for bald eagle restoration is derived from contributions to the state's tax check-off program, which supports wildlife diversity and endangered species.

Active nests

Active nests are currently recorded in the following 32 Ohio counties:

Ashtabula (1), Coshocton (1), Crawford (1), Delaware (1), Erie (8), Geauga (3), Guernsey (1), Hancock (1), Harrison (1), Henry (1), Holmes (1), Huron (2), Knox (2), Lake (1), Lorain (2), Lucas (5), Mahoning (2), Marion (2), Mercer (1), Morgan (1), Noble (1), Ottawa (14), Portage (3), Ross (1), Sandusky (11), Seneca (4), Summit (1), Trumbull (5), Tuscarawas (1), Wayne (1), Wood (3) and Wyandot (5).

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