So, exactly where is the nest?

Another question that is frequently asked of the Eastwood Eagle Watchers is, “So, exactly where is the nest?” And the simplest and most honest answer we can give is, “Nowhere.” It is nowhere that is visible to the general public right now and nowhere of any real significance, for the time being.

The 2011 aerie is in the extreme top of a very tall sycamore tree. It had previously been the home of a pair of Great Blue Heron, atop a rookery of several other heron nests. Jim and Cindy confiscated the nest (and most of the rest of the tree) last winter and added to its width and depth for weeks before laying their eggs there. This past spring the nest was visible from the east end of Eastwood Lake, near Harshman Road. Before the leaves emerged the activity of Jim and Cindy in the nest was viewable even without the aid of a scope or binoculars (but they definitely helped). Now that the trees in the area are fully leafed-out the nest is completely hidden from public view. But this fact is of no real significance right now because, as with most birds, the nest only serves as an incubation site and nursery. Once the eaglets fledge from the nest, it is soon abandoned until the next nesting cycle begins, and it will only be used then if Jim and Cindy decide to return to that specific nest. They currently maintain three nests within the well field.

One more question that we have heard a lot is “Why did they nest here?” The answer to that question can be clearly found in typical eagle behavior. The eagle population in Ohio is rebounding nicely after decades of decline and struggle. The Bald Eagle is an extremely resourceful creature. Although it is very adaptable, it does have some very specific needs. As with all wildlife, the primary requirement for survival is good food supply. Bald Eagles are true fish eagles. Although they will feed on waterfowl, mammals and even carrion, fish provide the bulk of their diet. Most of the larger lakes in the state are being claimed as “home territory” by adult eagle pairs. Jim and Cindy have laid claim to what must be one of the best areas in the state.  Their realm includes Eastwood Lake west of Harshman Road and Blue Lake east of Harshman Road, along with a large section of the Mad River, the fastest flowing river in Ohio. The Mad River therefore rarely, if ever, freezes over. But  just as importantly, Jim and Cindy also “own” the well field! The City of Dayton’s Mad River Well Field includes many fresh water reservoirs and at least three additional lakes. Furthermore, the well field is home of a large herd of whitetail deer, many groundhogs, raccoons, Canada Geese and other wildlife.  And as an added bonus, the well field has always been a restricted access area. In fact, as a result of the attacks of September 11, 2001, as a drinking water recharge facility it now has even greater protection and penalties for anyone caught trespassing within its limits. The area is under video surveillance and features 24-hour security patrols. The Eastwood Eagle Watchers take the potential disturbance of Jim, Cindy very seriously and we have reported trespassers several times over the past few years. The local authorities have always been very responsive.

As the Bald Eagle population continues to increase and with the abundance of food available in the area, some future day Jim and Cindy might even allow another adult eagle pair to nest within their vast domain.

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Published in: on August 26, 2011 at 2:43 am  Leave a Comment  

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