According to Steve Pollick in today's Blade, now is the time of the annual midwinter bald eagle survey.
"The survey is run each January as part of a continentwide census to determine wintering eagle populations in North America. Last year in Ohio, 480 bald eagles were seen in the survey period, including 359 adults and 121 immatures or juveniles. Adults are told by their distinctive white heads and tails and dark brown bodies and wings. Juveniles are more mottled and tend to browns.
The survey includes both ground-based monitoring and aerial observations, and the Ohio Division of Wildlife is asking volunteer eagle-watchers to contribute their sightings as well. Simply call in any sightings to the state's Crane Creek Wildlife Research Station at Magee Marsh, 419-898-0960.
"Sightings may be made from Jan. 1 to 15, but please concentrate on the week of Jan. 7 to 11," said Mark Shieldcastle, project leader at Crane Creek station.
"Today there are more opportunities than ever for Ohioans to observe bald eagles in the wild, as the population of these magnificent birds continues to expand throughout the state," Shieldcastle added. "The potential to see both resident eagles and those wintering-over is a reality in all parts of the state."
Remember to avoid approaching an eagle nest. Human interference before and during the nesting season can cause an eagle pair to abandon a site or discourage them from using it later. It is a violation of state and federal law to disturb a nest.
Most of the state's eagle nests are in the western Lake Erie shore zone, but growing numbers are being found inland as well, especially up major river corridors."