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Ohio bald eagle nest count jumps significantly in past decade. Officials credit crowdsourcing

 Two adult bald eagles visiting nest in a sycamore tree.
Tim Daniel
Ohio Division of Wildlife
Two adult bald eagles visiting nest in a sycamore tree.

Ohio officials are reporting a significant increase in the number of bald eagle nests in the state over the last decade, and they credit crowdsourcing as part of the reason.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources says in 2012, they were only aware of about 100 bald eagle nests in the state. But a 2020 count showed that number around 700, and a new report finds that had jumped to just over 800 last year.

ODNR spokeswoman Jamey Emmert says a reduction in water pollution has helped bald eagles rebound in Ohio, but she also credits the public’s help.

“We were able to get over 2500 reports from Ohioans on nesting activity. So nests that maybe we missed from a helicopter or for whatever reason we just can’t see, we may not know about," according to Emmert. "We were able to take those reports and process each and every report which was really labor intensive and determine then, how many nests.”

Emmert says they are seeing a large concentration of bald eagle nests along the Lake Erie shoreline. She attributes that to conditions favorable for eaglets to learn how to fly and find food.

Emmert says even though bald eagles are no longer endangered, they are still under federal protection. This means people should avoid activities that might disturb their territories. These activities could include chopping down trees for firewood.

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Jay Shah