COLUMBUS, OHIO -- A pair of bald eagles has returned to Indian Lake, recording the first nest in Logan County since the restoration program began in 1979, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
"The last known nesting pair of bald eagles at Indian Lake was in 1908 located at what is now Crane Town Island," said Frank Giannola, Indian Lake Park Manager. "It has actually been over 100 years since we've had a nest at the lake."
In addition to the nesting pair, one chick has been confirmed in the nest, with biologists estimating it to be around five weeks old. At this age, the chick will be ready to fledge and fly on its own in mid- to late June.
Bald eagles were downlisted from Endangered to Threatened status in Ohio in early 2008. State and federal U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service laws protect them and their nest sites. Any type of disturbance around a nest could cause the birds to abandon the nest or discourage them from using the site in the future.
The nest is located on Pony Island on the northeast edge of the lake, which has no public access. It can easily be viewed from a boat on the water. Those without access to a boat can still view the nest on clear days from Long Island, just south of Pony Island. Eagle watchers should look at the trees to the north side of Pony Island to see the nest. Binoculars or spotting scopes are recommended to aid in viewing.
Public parking is not available in any private business' parking lot.
The Division of Wildlife initiated the state's bald eagle restoration program in 1979 when only four bald eagle pairs were known to be nesting in Ohio. Last year, 184 pairs of eagles produced 222 young. The bald eagle management program is partially funded by donations to the state income tax check-off program for Wildlife Diversity and Endangered Species.
The program is also funded by the sale of special bald eagle edition Ohio conservation license plates. See the license plate artwork at wildplates.com. The license plates can be purchased through a deputy registrar license outlet, on the Internet at oplates.com or by calling the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles at 1-888-PLATES3.