MOUNT VERNON — The national bird continues to spread in Knox County, according to observations by local eagle guru Jon Minard. Minard, perennial volunteer for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ annual eagle census, recently discovered a new nesting pair near Utica. To protect the eagles, which are very sensitive about human intrusion, Minard did not say exactly where the nest is.
“They kicked out some herons who have had to move their rookery,” Minard said, adding that he checked and found that the herons relocated their nesting grounds to an area north of Utica on Tuma Run.
He said the Utica eagle pair is incubating eggs that are expected to hatch soon.
Minard noted that some of Knox’s other nesting pairs are not having such a good year. He said the nest at Gambier failed this year as the old male bird apparently died. That in itself did not cause the nest to fail, as the female eagle quickly secured a new young mate, but Minard said the inexperienced young male failed to remain seated on the pair’s eggs to incubate them. Having learned that, Minard said, the bird will almost certainly do a better job when he gets his next opportunity.
“Next year they’ll be in good shape,” he said.
The Brinkhaven nest failed on its first try this year, Minard said, but they quickly laid two more eggs and are trying again. The Knox Lake nest is doing fine, with two eagle chicks having hatched. Other area nests, including the Wyler nest in Morrow County, as well as the Honey Creek, Lake Fork and Pleasant Hill nests, all near Loudonville, all have chicks this year.
According to ODNR, the incubation period for bald eagle eggs is 35 days. Young eagles fledge 72 to 75 days after hatching and leave their home nesting territory by the time they are 18 to 20 weeks old.
The next eagle watching programs will come this fall at the Mohican River Inn on Wally Road, which started holding regular eagle programs last year in cooperation with the Medina Raptor Center and/or the Ohio Bird Sanctury. This fall’s tours will include Aug. 13 and 14, Oct. 16 and 30, Nov. 13 and Dec. 4. For further information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.