Can't wait to see more flying around when on the water. OHIO'S BALD EAGLE POPULATION ATTAINS SIGNIFICANT MILESTONE More than 100 nests and 100 eaglets produced in 2004 COLUMBUS, OH - As the nation prepares for its July 4th birthday, Ohio wildlife biologists are celebrating a successful milestone in the recovery of the American symbol - the bald eagle. This year, Ohio's bald eagle population reached a modern-day record, with 108 bald eagles nesting in the state - signifying the first time Ohio has recorded more than 100 nests. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife, this is the 16th consecutive year that the state's bald eagle population has increased its numbers of breeding pairs and offspring produced. Of those 108 nests, 73 successfully produced young eagles. Current reports from wildlife biologists and volunteer nest observers indicate that 127 eaglets have fledged in 37 Ohio counties. In addition, 21 new nests have been identified in 15 counties this year. Six of those counties (Hardin, Harrison, Muskingum, Pickaway, Putnam, and Richland) recorded their first eagle nests in modern-day Ohio. Last year, 105 young eaglets fledged from 59 nests in Ohio. "Ohio has been able to achieve this success through sound wildlife management principles and techniques," said Mark Shieldcastle, biologist with the Division of Wildlife. Since 1979 - when only four bald eagle pairs were found in the state - the division has helped reestablish Ohio's eagle population through habitat development and protection, fostering of young eagles, and extensive observation of eagle nesting behavior. "The public has really supported the recovery of bald eagles in Ohio and reaching the milestone of 100 eagle nests is an accomplishment that should make all Ohioans very proud," said Shieldcastle. Most eagle nests in Ohio are located along the shores of Lake Erie, but now some are well inland, including nests in Delaware, Noble, and Wyandot counties. The counties with new nests in 2004 were Sandusky (3), Erie (2), Ross (2), Wyandot (2), Ashtabula (1), Hardin (1), Harrison (1), Huron (1), Knox (1), Muskingum (1), Ottawa (1), Pickaway (1), Putnam (1), and Richland (1). One pair of eagles built their nest in a goose-nesting tub at the Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area in Marion County - a first-of-its-kind occurrence. One eaglet successfully fledged from this unconventional setting. An average eagle nest ranges from three to five feet in width and three to six feet in depth. The nests are usually built high in a tall tree. Both male and female eagles share in the incubation and feeding of the young, which begin to leave the nest at about 12 weeks. An adult bald eagle has snow-white head and tail feathers. Its body color is very dark brown, almost black. Yellow eyes, beak, and feet accent the bird's appearance. Young eagles do not achieve this appearance until the age of five or six years. Until that time, they are uniformly dark brown from head to tail feather. Their undersides are mottled white with buff and cream blotches. The ODNR Division of Wildlife's work with bald eagles is funded through the sale of the bald eagle license plate. Proceeds from the sale of this plate are devoted to acquisition of land, management, and study of the bald eagle. To purchase the bald eagle license plate, contact your local deputy registrar or call the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles at 1/888-PLATES3. Additional funding for bald eagle restoration is derived from contributions to the Wildlife Diversity and Endangered Species Fund through a check-off on the Ohio state income tax form.