Crossing the bridge in downtown Batavia last week, Clermont Park District Director Chris Clingman saw a handful of people looking at something. Then saw it himself.
An American bald eagle.
“I parked and went on bridge,” he said. “Turns out there were two of them; one was on the other side of the bridge.”
He snapped some photos with his phone and sent them to the Park District’s interpretive naturalists.
The resulting Facebook post – shared by Robin Green at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, April 25 – as of Wednesday morning has a reach of more than 27,000 people (and counting) with more than 6,400 engagements and 200-plus shares.
It’s the second-most popular post in in Park District history, behind only Green’s photo of a snake in a tree at Pattison Park earlier this year which reached more than 31,000 people.
At the end of January this year, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division announced a citizen science project to help find every eagle’s nest in the state.
Once an endangered species, there were only four nesting pairs of bald eagles in Ohio in 1979. By 2007, they were removed from the federal list of threatened and protected species and Ohio followed suit in 2012.
The 2020 count marked the first such effort since eagles came off the list eight years before.
On April 22, the ODNR released its results; with 707 confirmed nests in 85 counties. Citizens reported about 2,500 nests to the Division of Wildlife, whose officers and biologists went on to verify the locations.
Ottowa (90) and Sandusky (50) counties led the state in nests. Clermont County officially has four nesting pair, as does neighboring Brown County to the east. To the west, Hamilton County has three pair. Nearby Butler County has eight, Warren County four and Clinton County two.
“I have seen one passing through before, but others have seen them in the area,” Clingman said. “There is an eagle nest on the East Fork, so we should be seeing them throughout the Batavia area.”
The Park District would love to see and share your local eagle photos. Please send your JPEG images to firstname.lastname@example.org, along with the date and location you saw the eagle.