Metro Parks are a welcome home for bald eagles

The Overlook Deck and the Riverbluff Area are two places to see the eagles flying above the Olentangy River in search of food. Photo/Dale Miller

For several years, bald eagles have been seen flying along park waterways in various Metro Parks searching for food and nesting locations. Three parks, Highbanks, Pickerington Ponds and Three Creeks, have active nests. Now is a great time to get outdoors and see eagle nests, as the trees have yet to leaf out.

Eagles typically lay their eggs in mid-February through late March , so you may see them sitting on the nest or hunting for food. Highbanks and Three Creeks offer programs so visitors can see the nests and learn more about our national bird. Eggs are incubated by both parents for about 35 days, and the young eagles leave the nest about three months later, usually before the Fourth of July. Visit metroprks.net and search park programs.

The eagle nest at Pickerington Ponds Metro Park is best seen from the Wood Duck Area. Just look south. Photo/John Anderson

Once almost non-existent in Ohio, with only four nests in the state in 1978, today’s eagle population is making a soaring comeback. In 2019, the Ohio Division of Wildlife staff counted a record-setting number of 230 immature eagles and 210 adult eagles, for a total of 440 bald eagles, a 75 percent increase the previous year. In 2019, a nesting survey revealed approximately 346 eagle nests within the state, with pairs producing an estimated 445 young.

Metro Parks, with its large sycamores and cottonwoods near bodies of water with lots of fish and commitment to habitat conservation, is just one of many agencies helping the eagle make a dramatic comeback in Central Ohio. The statewide surge in eagle populations statewide is due to efforts from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, zoos across the state, wildlife rehabilitation facilities and concerned landowners, according to ODNR.

The bald eagle was removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species in 2007 and from Ohio’s list in 2012.

Send your eagle sighting to mediagroup@metroparks.net and be sure and share any pics on Instagram or Facebook.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *