Ohio bald eagle population takes off

Published: Apr. 24, 2020 at 12:28 PM EDT
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The bald eagle population has more than doubled since the species was removed from the endangered list here in Ohio in 2012. An amazing comeback for a species that was almost lost.

From just four in the 1970s to nearly 300 today. ODNR says, “It really is one of the greatest conservation stories that we have in Ohio.”

During a press conference earlier this week, Governor Mike DeWine talked about the importance of the bald eagle population. He said, “In 1979, Ohio’s bald eagle population consisted of only four nesting pairs. The bald eagle was on the brink of being lost forever and was on state and federal lists of threatened and endangered species.”

More than 700 bald eagle nests were reported across Ohio for the 2020 count, up from 281 just 8 years ago. One of the highest areas of concentration was found in Seneca County.

Meredith Gilbert works with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. She tells 13abc, “We have a lot of habitats here in Seneca County. We have the Sandusky River that runs right through the county, and that provides a lot of good habitat for those nesting locations.”

The county with the largest population: Ottawa County. And it’s all thanks to our biggest natural resource.

Gilbert explains, “Bald eagle’s favorite food is fish. So if you have an area near water, that has big trees that would be able to support an eagle nest, it’s going to be more likely that you’re going to find them there. Of course, up by Lake Erie, they have a huge amount of habitat, and that’s shown by how many nests they have up there as well.”

As DeWine addressed the state, he said of the bald eagle comeback: “This is truly a great Ohio success story. The bald eagle is a symbol of America’s strength, resilience and the eagle’s comeback in Ohio and across the country prove we can overcome any challenges when we work together.”