YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) –– Only four bald eagle nests were found across Ohio in 1979. That number has now grown exponentially to 707 recorded in 2020.

Jamey Emmert, wildlife communications specialist with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, sees the Valley, especially Trumbull County, as a great area to spot eagles.

She said there’s now a healthy number of eagles across the state due to decrease in pollution and passage of laws to protect the birds, but her team will still be keeping track of the total population.

“We saw that the bald eagle population was skyrocketing. We wanted to get a good handle on actually how many active nests and inactive nests we have in the state of Ohio and just get an idea of the population,” Emmert said.

Trumbull County has 26 reported bald eagle nests this year, increased from only nine in 2012. Emmert said the county had the fourth highest number of nests in Ohio, making it a great area to spot the birds.

Mahoning County reported seven nests, while Columbiana had four, fewer than Trumbull but still an increase since 2012.

Emmert spoke a bit about the symbolism of the eagles and recommended ways residents can help protect the national birds in the area.

“When you save a species, that’s very meaningful to you or to America, such as the bald eagle, so many other species will benefit too. When you protect a habitat, you protect an environment in the name of one species. It’s just an overflow of support for the ecosystem as a whole,” Emmert said.

It’s important to recycle so trash doesn’t interfere with the eagles’ habitats, allowing them to continue to thrive.

Emmert also said all of the protections for the eagles from the state division of wildlife comes from hunting and fishing license fees, not taxpayer dollars.

Lastly, Emmert said to report any eagle nests as you see them so the department is aware of all our local birds. Mosquito Lake or Shenango Reservoir are favorite local spots to see the eagles soaring.