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Mid-winter Eagle Survey Shows Record Number Of Bald Eagles In Ohio

January 20, 2006

Bald EagleOak Harbor, Ohio - A record number of bald eagles were observed in the state during the annual Mid-Winter Bald Eagle Survey, conducted by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

A total of 554 bald eagles was observed, including 329 mature and 225 immature birds. Last winter’s survey recorded a total of 366 bald eagles, which included 247 mature and 119 immature birds. Immature bald eagles are those without completely white heads and generally less than 5 years old.

“Ohio’s bald eagle population continues to expand throughout the state. The mild temperatures of early January have made eagle viewing excellent this year. Open water has held Ohio birds and enticed northern birds to winter over, giving us a tremendous count this year,” said Mark Shieldcastle, a biologist with the Division of Wildlife.

Bald eagles were observed in 63 of Ohio's 88 counties during this year's two-week survey. Counties along the western shore of Lake Erie continue to report the largest number of eagles. Sandusky County had the greatest number of sightings with 98 birds.

Throughout the survey period large concentrations of eagles were recorded in a single location. One hundred and seven eagles were seen at one time on Sandusky Bay. During a separate observation, 56 were spotted near an area of open water on the bay. Twenty-six eagles were seen on Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area.

Counties with the highest counts of bald eagles were: Sandusky-98, Ottawa-71, Erie-51, Knox-24, Wyandot-24, and Trumbull-24.

Good concentrations of bald eagles also were sighted along some inland waterways, including around the mouth of the Sandusky River, and along the Kokosing, Scioto, and Muskingum rivers. The southern most locations in the state to report bald eagle sightings were in Brown, Clermont, Gallia, Scioto and Hamilton counties along the Ohio River.

In 2005, Brown County recorded its first bald eagle nest in modern times, which also successfully fledged one eaglet. Last spring, a total 136 eaglets fledged from a record 125 nests in Ohio.

State wildlife officials and volunteers conduct the mid-winter survey each January as part of a national effort coordinated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The survey documents trends in wintering populations of eagles in the lower 48 states, including both the bald and golden eagles.

Although rarely seen in Ohio, two golden eagles (one adult and one immature) were spotted this year. The number of sightings could increase as the golden eagle population increases in the eastern Arctic, and as a successful reintroduction effort in Georgia and Tennessee expands.

The annual eagle assessment includes both a standardized aerial survey and ground observations.

With the tremendous growth in eagle nests across the state, new volunteers will be needed this year to assist the division in monitoring the activities of nesting birds. Workshops to train volunteer monitors will be held January 29 at the Carroll Township Hall in Ottawa County; February 1 at the Mosquito Creek Wildlife Area in Trumbull County, and February 11 at the Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area in Marion and Wyandot counties. For additional information on these training sessions, contact the Crane Creek Research Station at 419-898-0960.

The state’s bald eagle management program is funded by contributions to the state income tax check-off program for Wildlife Diversity and Endangered Species and by the sale of Ohio conservation license plates, including both the bald eagle and cardinal plates. Contributions to the check-off fund can be made by checking the appropriate line on the 2005 Ohio state income tax form. Conservation license plates can be purchased through a deputy registrar license outlet or by calling the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles at 1-888-PLATES3.

  Adams 1
  Allen 1
  Ashland 4
  Ashtabula 11
  Athens 2
  Belmont 3
  Brown 3
  Carroll 1
  Clermont 1
  Columbiana 2
  Coshocton 9
  Crawford 2
  Cuyahoga 4
  Defiance 3
  Delaware 16
  Erie 51
  Fairfield 4
  Gallia 2
  Geauga 10
  Greene 1
  Guernsey 2
  Hamilton 1
  Hancock 5
  Hardin 1
  Harrison 6
  Henry 1
  Highland 3
   Hocking 2
  Holmes 2
  Huron 6
  Knox 24
  Lake 7
  Licking 2
  Logan 1
  Lorain 5
  Lucas 19
  Mahoning 9
  Marion 5
  Medina 4
  Mercer 3
  Morgan 4
  Muskingum 6
  Noble 1
  Ottawa 71
  Pickaway 1
  Pike 10
  Portage 5
  Putnam 2
  Richland 11
  Ross 8
  Sandusky 98
  Scioto 3
  Seneca 13
  Shelby 1
  Stark 3
  Summit 2
  Trumbull 24
  Tuscarawas 6
  Warren 1
  Washington 23
  Wayne 3
  Wood 12
  Wyandot 24


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