GAMBIER — Seen a bald eagle lately? There may be an excellent opportunity to see adult eagles and nestlings this Sunday through a program sponsored by the Knox County Park District and the Brown Family Environmental Center at Kenyon College. The program begins at 1 p.m. at the Brown Center at 9781 Laymon Road (take Ohio 229 four miles east of Mount Vernon, then turn right on Laymon Road).
“Knox County has been an amazing place for eagle watching this year” said Gary Moore, program consultant for KCPD. “Growing up here 50 years ago who would have thought that there would be an abundance of eagles today.”
The program will begin with the recent success of eagles both in Knox County and Ohio. Participants can then view and handle items from an ODNR Division of Wildlife education kit that includes an eagle skull and talon replicas and a flight silhouette. Experienced ODNR eagle watch volunteers Jon Minard and Brad Perkins will provide an update on the surprising numbers of young and nests in the county this year. Perkins will share some photos of adults and young, as well.
The group will then travel a short distance to observe an active eagle nest where eaglets have been observed being fed recently by parents. A few pairs of binoculars will be provided along with a several powerful spotting scopes which should enable outstanding views of the adult birds or feeding of the eaglet.
“These spotting scopes provide a ‘wow’ factor of ‘seeing eye-to-eye’ with an eagle while maintaining a distance that does not disturb eagle nesting behavior,” said Moore. The scopes will be set at varying heights to accommodate children and adults. “Past viewers were fortunate enough to see the adult eagles soar, circle viewers and then dive to catch a fish, but this is real-time nature with no guarantees, so weather or even the whims of the birds can alter the experience. Knox County residents and eagles are fortunate that KCPD, KBFEC and others have helped protect important riparian habitat along the Kokosing.”
A few vans will be available for transport, while others can carpool to minimize impact for the very short drive to the nesting site. Participants should dress for the weather but the program requires minimal walking and can be easily enjoyed by youth and seniors.
“BFEC is proud to co-sponsor this guided experience to view eagles from a respectful distance that is considerate of property owners and the eagles,” said Heather Doherty, BFEC program coordinator.
The Knox County Park District is dedicated to providing excellent recreational opportunities and access to greenspace for all Knox County citizens to enjoy. For more information, call 740-392-7275 or visit www.knoxcountyparks.org on the web.
The BFEC has eight miles of trail and regular programs open to the public. For more information, visit bfec.kenyon.edu or call 427-5052.
Published on June 8, 2012