OHIO MID-WINTER BALD EAGLE SURVEY RECORDS 649 BIRDS
Number is highest ever noted in state during annual count
OAK HARBOR, OH - Observers counted 649birds during the recent Mid-Winter Bald Eagle Survey - the highest number ever recorded during the event. The previous record count for bald eagles during this survey was 554 in 2006.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife conducts the annual study. This year's total included 426 mature and 223 immature birds. Last winter's survey counted 480 bald eagles, including 359 mature and 121 immature birds. Immature bald eagles are those without completely white heads. They are generally less than 5 years old.
In 2007, 194 eaglets fledged from 116 nests in Ohio.
"Ohio's bald eagle population continues to expand throughout the state," said Mark Shieldcastle, a biologist with the Division of Wildlife. "Last fall's mild temperatures made eagle viewing excellent this year. Open water has held Ohio birds, and good weather allowed counters to get out and locate them."
Bald eagles were observed in 70of Ohio's 88 counties during this year's survey,
conducted January 2-15. Sandusky, Ottawa, Erie, Trumbull and Wyandot counties, along the western Lake Erie shore, continued to report the largest number of eagles. SanduskyCounty had the greatest number of sightings with 76 birds.
Good concentrations of bald eagles were also sighted around the mouth of the Sandusky River, and along the Kokosing, Mohican, Scioto, Grand and Muskingum rivers. The southern-most locations in the state to report bald eagle sightings were in Brown, Clermont, Scioto and Hamilton counties along the Ohio River.
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 immature golden eagles were spotted this year. The number of sightings could increase as the golden eagle population grows 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.
Eagles were recorded in the followingcounties: Adams-6, Ashland- 11, Ashtabula-12, Auglaize- 1, Belmont-2, Brown- 2, Butler- 1, Carroll- 2, Clark- 1, Clermont- 2, Clinton- 1, Columbiana- 5, Coshocton-13, Crawford- 8, Cuyahoga-7, Defiance- 4, Delaware-14, Erie- 36, Franklin- 3, Gallia-1, Geauga- 11, Hamilton-3, Hancock- 8, Hardin- 3, Harrison- 6, Henry- 1, Highland- 7, Hocking- 12, Holmes- 4, Huron- 2, Knox-28, Lake- 7, Lawrence- 1, Licking-5, Logan- 2, Lorain-6, Lucas-20, Mahoning- 13, Marion- 7, Medina- 4, Meigs- 2, Mercer- 7, Monroe- 3, Morgan- 6, Morrow- 2, Muskingum-13, Noble- 3, Ottawa- 72, Paulding-1, Pickaway- 4, Pike-3, Portage-9, Preble- 1, Putnam- 2, Richland-7, Ross- 15, Sandusky- 76, Scioto- 6, Seneca-14, Shelby- 1, Stark- 4, Summit-5, Trumbull-45, Tuscarawas-6, Union-3, Vinton- 2, Washington- 7, Wayne- 2, Wood-14, Wyandot- 32.
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 Line 28 on the 2007 state income tax form. Conservation license plates can be purchased through a deputy registrar or by calling the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles at 1-888-PLATES3.
Matching federal funds are provided through the State Wildlife Grant Program for the eagle restoration project and other wildlife diversity efforts of the Division of Wildlife that target species of greatest conservation need. Eagle restoration efforts also can be supported by donations via the Internet.