COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WKBN) – The comeback of the bald eagle in Ohio is one of the state’s all-time great wildlife recovery stories. Forty-one years ago, they were four nests away from being extinct. Today, their population is soaring.
In the Firestone Farms area along the Mahoning-Columbiana County line, Mike Bader of New Springfield set up his high-powered Sony camera Thursday hoping to get a shot of the eagles. The nest there is one of the area’s most accessible. It sets high in a dead tree off the side of Lipply Road.
“Through the years, we’ve had 21 fledglings that came from this nest through two different pair of eagles,” Bader said.
The Lipply Road nest was built in 2008, and Mike Bader has been photographing it since year one.
“Probably about seven or eight years ago, we had a big influx of eagles that came this way from the north, and they kicked our original eagles out of here. There was a big tussle, ended up killing one of the eagles,” Bader said.
Jamey Emmert with the Ohio Divison of Wildlife says that in 1979, the number of bald eagles nests in Ohio dropped to only four. Last year, there were 712.
Trumbull County has 26 nests, the fourth-most in Ohio. There are 90 in Ottawa County along Lake Erie. Mahoning County has seven and Columbiana County has four.
“It’s just really remarkable to think about the amazing recovery that these bald eagles made,” Emmert said. “The biggest thing is the cleaning up of our environment. DDT was banned, pesticide use was minimized, and therefore, our waterways improved vastly and we were able to recover.”
Bader said an eagle is sitting on the eggs, and when the eaglets hatch in the next 10 days, the dirt patch next to the road will be a busy place because the parents will be visibly feeding them.
“Once that baby is born, there won’t be a place to park. They’ll be all over the place. People with their iPhones and their little mini cameras,’ Bader said.
And Bader will be there, too.
Emmert says there are no regulations on how close people can get to an eagle’s nest, but she says if the eagles start to chatter, get fidgety and anxious, then that means you’re too close and back off.