Two bald eagle pairs in Ohio have started the spring nesting season.
According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife, eagles in Huron and Ashtabula counties began incubating eggs Feb. 1 and Feb. 5, respectively. Hatching is expected in early March.
Locally, eagle watcher Ron Minard said bald eagle pairs are showing signs of nesting but haven't started yet.
During the recently completed aerial mid-winter survey of bald eagles, biologists observed 121 birds throughout the state. Eagles are continuing to expand their range, establishing nesting territories in central and southern Ohio.
Ohio's bald eagle population grew from only four nesting pairs along the southwestern Lake Erie shore 31 years ago, to a record 215 eagle nests in 2009.
Last year, 197 eaglets were produced from 113 nests.
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Division of Wildlife staff members and a dedicated group of trained volunteers monitor existing nests during the season and continue to look for new nests.
Anyone who observes eagles building a new nest locally should contact Minard at (419) 387-7336 or Wildlife Officer Matt Liebengood at (419) 429-8394. Or contact the Findlay wildlife district office toll-free at (800) WILDLIFE.
Nests are large and are built in tops of tall trees near water. They often are reused year after year. Nests may reach 10 feet in diameter and weigh as much as 2,000 pounds.
Eagles lay two or three eggs once a year. The eggs hatch in about 35 days.
The Division of Wildlife reminds people state and federal laws protect bald eagles and their nest sites. Any type of disturbance around a nest could cause the birds to abandon the site or discourage them from using the nest in the future.
Bald eagles range over great distances until mature enough to breed at 3-4 years of age. They usually return to nest within 100 miles of where they were raised. Although eagles generally keep the same mate, if one of the pair should die, the other will find another mate.
An eagle's life span in the wild is 15-20 years.
Eaglets fly within three months of hatching, but remain under the care of adults for another seven to 10 weeks. Immature eagles are mottled brown in color and do not acquire their signature white head and tail feathers until age 5-6.
The Division of Wildlife started the state's bald eagle restoration program in 1979. The program is funded partially by donations to the state income tax check-off for wildlife diversity and endangered species.
Contributions can be made by checking line 25Con the 1040 or line 18C on the1040 EZ 2009 state income tax forms.
Donations can also be made via the Internet atwww.wildohio.com.
The program also is funded by the sale of Ohio conservation license plates, including the bald eagle and cardinal plates.
Plates can be purchased through a deputy registrar license outlet, online at www.OPLATES.com, or by calling the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles at (888) PLATES3.
Youth turkey hunt
Hunters ages 17 and younger interested in turkey hunting at Lake La Su An Wildlife Area near Pioneer are invited to attend a drawing at thearea's headquarters March 6. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. and the drawing is at 10 a.m.
Hunting dates are April 17-May 16.
Youths must bring a valid hunting license to register, but youths are not required to be present to participate.
Adults may register a youth with the youth's valid hunting license.
Registration cards are to be drawn from a drum for either a two-day or three-day hunt permit. As names are drawn, hunters choose the days and sections they wish to hunt.
A total of 72 dates and sections are available. Permits are valid for one non-hunting adult and one licensed youth hunter.
Permits are transferable by following instructions on the permit.
For more information, call (419) 485-9092 or (419) 424-5000.
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The ever-popular Old Shoe Garden program for toddlers with an adult companion is planned for 4:30 p.m. March 3 at Garlo Heritage Nature Preserve. Join naturalist Linda Rose as children learn about seeds through stories and finger plays and then plant some seeds. Take along an old shoe. All other supplies are provided. The preserve is two milessouth of Bloomville on SR 19.
For more information or to register, call (419) 435-3915 or e-mail
Crawford Park District is planning an arrowhead day 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Feb. 27 at Lowe-Volk Park Nature Center. The area has produced hundreds of thousands of American Indian artifacts with history going back as far as the Paleo culture 10,000-15,000 years ago. Local collectors plan to display their finds and members of the Johnny Appleseed Chapter of the Archaeological Society of Ohio plan to be on hand to assist in answering questions about artifacts that have not been identified.
In addition to the displays, informative presentations are planned and a silent auction of donated artifacts. Lowe-Volk Park is at 2401 SR 598, three miles north of Galion.
For more information, call (419) 683-9000 or visit www.crawfordparkdistrict.org.
A nature hike is planned at 3 p.m. Feb. 28 at Sears Woods State Nature Preserve. Join Crawford Park District Naturalist Warren Uxley for the winter hike to explore the transition from winter to spring. Sears Woods parking lot is 1486 Mt. Zion Road, west of Bucyrus.
Annual maple sugar making is planned for noon Feb. 27 at the Hancock Park District's Litzenberg Memorial Woods. Visitors can walk the trails,and back in time, for a living history and nature walk featuring maple trees and sap collection in American culture. Guided walks through the woods last about one hour and depart from the gatehouse every 15 minutes, with the last hike departing at 2 p.m. Interpreters plan to explore a Native American encampment making syrup, sap science and nature's sap lovers. Visit a 19th-century pioneer sugar camp where costumed interpreters work to produce sugar and syrup to last them through the year. The 1847 McKinnis House is to be open noon-3 p.m. Inside the Activity Barn, maple syrup productsare to be for sale courtesy of David and Ilene Fruth of The Sugar House near Vanlue. Litzenberg Memorial Woodsis six miles west of Findlay.
For more information, visit www.HancockParks.
comor call (419) 425-Park.
n Thursday, 7:30 p.m., Moon Walk, Tiffin University Nature Preserve, just outside Tiffin city limits on Miami Street, (419) 435-3915, programs@