Magee Marsh closes areas for eagles

Two pairs of bald eagles build nests along trails, raising families
Alex Green
Mar 8, 2014


Sometimes when you’re a national symbol, you get to pull rank and insist on privacy.
Two nesting pairs of American bald eagles, the national bird, have settled recently at Magee Marsh. As a result, visitors will have to avoid certain areas for a few months.

Officials at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area announced this week eagles have built nests along two trails. A loop of the walking trail and part of the beach parking lot will remain open for bald eagles, but they’ve been closed for human beings until further notice.

Signs and barricades have been installed. The trail will remain open from the bird center to the observation blind.

State officials promised to keep an eye on the nests and reopen the rest of the public areas when possible.

Eagles at Magee Marsh are accustomed to getting that kind of deference.

“We have this closure each year,” said Patrick Baranowski, wildlife area supervisor at Magee Marsh.

Meanwhile, state monitoring continues to show bald eagles are doing well in Ohio, and that Ottawa County remains their favorite of the state’s 88 counties, said Dave Sherman, a wildlife biologist at Magee Marsh who has overseen Ohio’s bald eagle program for about the last five years.

Ohio’s eagle statisticians have recorded at least 180 bald eagle nests every year since 2007. There’s generally been a steady rise each decade since 1985, when only seven were recorded.

The number of nests is shown as declining slightly from 2012 to 2013, but Sherman said recent numbers are an estimate based on sampling. Bald eagles are doing so well, the state no longer tries to record every nest, he said.

In fact, people have become a bit lackadaisical about reporting bald eagle nests because they’ve become so common, Sherman said.

“People are getting very accustomed to seeing them,” he said.



OK, I'm confused. Prior to the birds building the nests where they are, people where walking the trails and paths. So the eagles choice where to nest seems to not be affected by that they see people. So why now is the area restricted? Maybe I don't understand. Can anyone clarify this for me?

Licorice Schtick

They choose their nesting sites in the dead of Winter, when no one is around. When things warm up and people show up, they're a good chance they'll be spooked and abandon the chicks before they're fledged.

Bald Eagles are no longer endangered in Ohio, but still subject to the federal Eagle Protection Act, so management is pretty much obligated to do this. For anyone to do anything that avoidably disturbs these birds is a serious offense.

I think we can find another place to walk for awhile.


Boing idea just hit me.Get a camera or two from Homeland Security who only uses them to watch us and position them near the nests so we can watch mother nature at her best.I would love it.Any support for this idea?