Columbus – Reflecting national trends, Ohio’s bald eagle
population continues to grow in numbers and expand in
Biologists with the DNR Division of Wildlife counted a record
215 nests in the state this year, the 22nd consecutive year that
the state’s breeding bald eagle population has increased.
Of those 215 nests, 113 were known to be successful in producing
young eagles. Current reports from wildlife biologists and
volunteer observers have estimated a minimum of 197 total young
eagles produced in nests in 52 Ohio counties.
“As Ohio’s bald eagle population continues to grow, we can
expect more sightings and viewing opportunities throughout the
state,” said Andrea Tibbels, bald eagle project coordinator with
the Division of Wildlife.
Last year, Ohio had 184 nests, with 119 of the nests producing
an estimated 222 eaglets; a determination of the number of eaglets
in 16 nests could not be made.
This year, 33 new nests have been identified.
In the third year since being removed from the federal
Endangered Species List, bald eagles have made a dramatic comeback.
Since 1979 – when only four bald eagle pairs were found in the
state – the Division of Wildlife has helped reestablish Ohio’s
eagle population through habitat development and protection;
fostering of young eagles; and extensive observation of eagle
Most eagle nests in Ohio are located along the shores of Lake
Erie, but now some are well inland, including nests in Delaware,
Hancock, Mercer and Wyandot counties. Counties with new nests in
2009 were Butler, Franklin, Hamilton, Logan, Medina, Montgomery,
Paulding, Pike and Scioto. A majority of the nests occur on private
An average eagle nest ranges from 3 to 5 feet in width and 3 to
6 feet in depth. The nests are usually built high in tall trees.
Both male and female eagles share in the incubation and feeding of
the young, which begin to leave the nest at about 12 weeks of age.
An adult bald eagle has snow-white head and tail feathers. Its body
color is very dark brown, almost black. Yellow eyes, beak and feet
accent the bird’s appearance. Young eagles do not achieve this
appearance until the age of 5 or 6 years. Until that time, they are
uniformly dark brown from head to tail feather. Their undersides
are mottled white with buff and cream blotches.
The Division of Wildlife’s work with bald eagles is funded
through the sale of bald eagle license plates. Proceeds from the
sale of the plates are devoted to acquisition of habitat,
management and study of bald eagles. To purchase a bald eagle
license plate, contact your local deputy registrar or call the Ohio
Bureau of Motor Vehicles at 1-888-PLATES3.
Funding is provided through the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
State Wildlife Grants Program. Additional funding for bald eagle
restoration is derived from contributions to the Wildlife Diversity
and Endangered Species Fund through a check-off on the Ohio State
Income Tax Report Form.