For the first time in eight years, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife is trying to find every bald eagle nest in Ohio and is asking Ohioans to keep their eyes peeled for the national bird.

“The bald eagle’s remarkable comeback speaks volumes about Ohio’s conservation efforts,” said Gov. Mike DeWine. “With its population on the rise, the bald eagle will continue to serve as a powerful symbol for our state and our country for years to come.”

According to the ODNR, the bald eagle was once an endangered species. There were only four nesting pairs in the Buckeye State in 1979, but that amount has increased due to efforts from ODNR, zoos across the state, wildlife rehabilitation facilities and concerned landowners.

“From the Ohio River to Lake Erie, our state has become an ideal home for the bald eagle,” said ODNR director Mary Mertz in a news release. “This is a great opportunity to get outdoors and see this soaring raptor, all while providing a valuable conservation service to our state.”

Typically, wildlife biologists estimate the number of eagle nests by flying over select areas of the state to verify. The attempt to identify locations of all the nests in the state has not been attempted since they were de-listed by the state in 2012.

ODNR warns it is illegal to disturb bald eagles and cautions people to stay at least 100 yards away from the bird or its nest.

Bald eagles are not actually bald; the name derives from an older meaning of the word, “white-headed”. The adult is mainly brown with a white head and tail. The sexes are identical in plumage, but females are about 25 percent larger than males. The beak is large and hooked. The plumage of the immature is brown.

The bald eagle is the national bird of the United States of America. The bald eagle appears on its seal. In the late 20th century it was on the brink of extirpation in the contiguous United States. Populations have since recovered and the species was removed from the U.S. government’s list of endangered species on July 12, 1995, and transferred to the list of threatened species. It was removed from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in the contiguous states on June 28, 2007.

If you spot a bald eagle nest between February 1 and March 31, you can report your sightings at https://apps.ohiodnr.gov/wildlife/speciessighting/

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