Once an endangered species, bald eagles now thriving with 840-plus nests in Ohio

In preparation for Independence Day, Ohio has recently disclosed the status of the national bird’s population within the state. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the bald eagle population is flourishing, with an estimated 841 active nests as per the latest spring survey. Although this number is lower compared to the 910 estimated nests in 2023, the resilience of the population has been confirmed by the indicators, which indicate continued growth.

The average success rate of the nests is 82% this year, nearly double the rate from 2022 and higher than the 73% rate from last year. Moreover, the number of eaglets per active nest this year is 1.6, higher than the numbers in 2022 (0.8) and 2023 (1.2). The survey focused on about 10 square miles of eagle nests in wooded areas and along rivers in various locations including Sandusky, northeast Ohio, Maumee River, Grand Lake St. Marys, and Killbuck Marsh Wildlife area.

It’s important to note that the bald eagle was once an endangered species, with only four nesting pairs in Ohio in 1979. Thanks to the efforts of the Division of Wildlife, Ohio zoos, wildlife rehabilitation facilities, concerned landowners, and conservationists, the population has significantly increased. The bald eagle was officially removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species in 2007 and from Ohio’s list in 2012.

Under both state law and the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, it is illegal to disturb bald eagles. Anyone wishing to observe these majestic birds must maintain a distance of at least 100 yards, as disruptions can cause the pair to abandon their eggs.

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