COLUMBUS — More than 700 bald eagle nests have been reported in Ohio this nesting season, according to the Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife, a dramatic increase from a similar census in 2012.
Officials said thousands of reports where made by Ohioans during February and March and in total, 707 bald eagle nests have been confirmed in the state.
“The bald eagle is one of Ohio’s greatest wildlife success stories. The nest census was the first undertaking to discover all such sites for the first time in eight years,” officials said.
In the region, Mercer County had 16 nests, tied for 10th highest in the state. Hancock County noted 12 nests, while Hardin County had nine. Logan and Putnam counties reported eight nests each. Allen County had five nests, followed by Auglaize (four), Shelby (three) and Van Wert (two).
Allen County, Auglaize County, Shelby County and Van Wert County each saw increases from zero nests found in 2012’s census.
There was an increase of 151% from the 2012 census when only 281 nests were recorded in Ohio.
“The bald eagle is a symbol of American strength and resilience,” Gov. Mike DeWine said in a statement. “The eagle’s comeback in Ohio and across the country proves that we can overcome any challenge when we work together.”
The Division of Wildlife received approximately 2,500 reports from the public for the 2020 census. Then officers and biologists verified the reported nest locations across 85 counties.
“We are grateful to every Ohioan who contributed to this effort and thank those who support conservation of high-quality habitat that kept eagles nesting in Ohio,” Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker said in a statement.
Counties along or near Lake Erie have the highest number of bald eagle nests due to the abundance of food and nesting habitat, officials said.
Counties with the most nests included Ottawa (90), Sandusky (50), Erie (32), Trumbull (26), Seneca (24), Wyandot (19), Lucas (18), Licking (17), Ashtabula (16), Knox (16), Mercer (16) and Wood (16).
The Lima News contributed to this story.