2016 Walborn Reservoir Eagle Report
July 17, 2016- It has been another great year of watching nature in action. Ohio’s Eagle population has soared over the past few years, with well over two hundred nests in Ohio compared to only four in 1979.
It is hard to say how much longer the juvenile will stay in the area. Look all around as they can be perched anywhere including other areas at Walborn and Deer Creek Reservoirs.
I have enjoyed making new friends while watching the eagles. Many purchased your own spotting scopes and are so willing to share them with others. This is exactly how I got started watching them too! Many thanks to Bob and Bonnie for your time and energy volunteering here too. Thank you to Cliff for your pictures and sharing your scope and knowledge with others.
I am honored to have a fan club in Pamela and Patrick and thanks for sponsoring the new bench. It is awesome to sit on and enjoy what nature provides. Many visitors will enjoy this for a long time to come.
We have spoken with over 1,000 visitors at the deck this year and there have been many stop by when we were not here. Looking forwarding to the 2017 edition of the Walborn eagle nest!
June 22, 2016- The Juvenile is 12½ weeks old now and right on schedule in development. Last Friday evening was the first time the juvenile was out of the nest and on a limb.
Tuesday evening, we saw the juvenile on the North side of the lake perched on a low branch of a dead Willow tree directly below the nest site. Hopefully, we will still see it in the area, as it watches its parents to learn how to catch its own food and sharpen its flying and landing skills. In the past, we have seen the juvenile back at the nest site a few days after its first time of leaving it.We should be able to see it for a few more weeks before it heads out on its own.
Most of Ohio’s young Eagles go to the western basin of Lake Erie.
They stay there for about three years while they develop and learn from watching other Eagles. They generally return to within 50 to a 100 miles of their birth nest site. Eventually they will pair up with a mate and start their own nest.
June 9, 2016- The juvenile is about eleven weeks old and is doing a lot of wing stretching and hopping. It almost looks bored at times and will pick up sticks and play with a catfish head in the nest. It will start to venture out on a limb to gain confidence and flap its wings.
The first flight should happen soon, anytime from 11.50 week old to around 13 weeks old. We may not see it for a few days after the flight.
Sometimes they just circle the nest tree and land back at the nest, but other times they might land on the ground or in another tree. The parents will coax it to come to them by flying by with food.
Eventually it will perch on limbs along the shoreline watching the parents catch fish.
We have always seen the young stay in this area for a few weeks after they begin flying. It will most likely leave the area in late July or August. Most of Ohio’s young eagles go to the western basin area of Lake Erie. They join other immature eagles and stay there for about three years. During this time they sharpen their flying and hunting skills.
Did you know that a bald eagle can fly as high as 10,000 feet reaching level flight speeds of 30 to 35 miles per hour?
May 17, 2016- The eaglet is about seven weeks old now and developing feathers.
The parents have been leaving it alone for short periods for the last couple of weeks, but you can bet that one of them is close by. It’s appetite will increase as it gets bigger putting more pressure on the parents to keep a good supply of food coming. The evenings are the best time to see the eaglet getting fed, but it does eat every couple of hours.
A few younger eagles are still hanging around the area this year. They look to be between 3 years and 5 years of age. An eagle gets its white head around five years of age, but you can also guess their age by the color of the beak. It is dark at birth and turns yellow as it gets older.
Did you know that an eagle has about 7,000 feathers? They are layered and have different purposes. They can fluff them up and even rotate them to help keep them warm or cool. Nature sure is amazing! Volunteer Jim K., reporting from the Walborn Eagle Nest at 13600 Marlboro Avenue NE in Alliance. Come out and visit.
April 21, 2016- It looks like there will be just one eaglet this year. That makes 18 young eagles from this nest site over eleven years. I saw some early feeding behavior that made me think there might be two, but I am thankful for whatever nature gives us.
We have developed a following of visitors at the observation deck, I appreciate Bob and Bonnie volunteering at the site. We really enjoy seeing the visitor reactions after their first glance through the spotting scope. Some folks are even buying their own scopes and sharing the views with new visitors. They even have my speech memorized they have heard it so many times, this hobby is contagious!
We continue to see JUVS (eagles that are one to five years old before they get their white head) in the area. Osprey have also been frequent flyers around Walborn Reservoir.
April 14, 2016- The Walborn Eagle nest site was the place to be in Alliance on Thursday night. Here is how volunteer eagle watcher, Jim K., explained it!
"I went down to set up at 5:20pm and had several people waiting. While watching someone said there is another large bird in a tree about 200 yards to the east of the nest tree. We all started looking, I relocated my spotting scope, and what we saw was amazing . There were 5 juvenile eagles all perched in the tree. One head is almost white and the male eagle kept chasing this more mature one away.
Mom actually went over and perched with the juveniles for a bit and then went back to the nest. It was remarkable to see 7 eagles in one spot. One man came over and said that he had been on Reeder Ave. and could see two more lower in the tree that we could not see from the deck area. Who needs Alaska!"
April 5, 2016- It looks like there were two hatches last week, around March 26 and March 31. Both parents appear to be feeding at the same time on two different sightings. This is a strong indicator that we have two eaglets, but we will know for sure when the fuzzy heads start popping up in the next week or so. The 2016 hatch was 17 days earlier than the 2015 hatch.
Expect a lot of activity at the nest site for the next three months. Enjoy your visit and remember to not go beyond the observation deck.
Scopes will be set up most evenings weather permitting. Volunteer eagle watchers Bob, Bonnie, and Jim look forward to sharing their eagle knowledge with you.
March 15, 2016- The adult eagles seem to be doing just fine. One of them is always on the nest with an occasional trade off once in a while.
The female does around 85% of the incubating while the male will do most of the hunting. It will be this way until the young are around 6 weeks old and start to get some feathers to help keep them warm. As they get bigger and want more food, it will take both parents to keep up with their demands. By seven or eight weeks the parents will leave them alone for short periods while they hunt.
We should see signs of a hatch around Easter weekend. You can tell if there was a hatch by watching the parents and see if they are eating and giving the young small pieces of food. Watch closely to see if they are passing food in more than one location and you might be able to tell how many eaglets! By the end of the second week of April ,we should be able to see the eaglets moving around. They look prehistoric at this age, covered with a light grey down. It will be replaced with a darker grey which will start being replaced by feathers at about six weeks.
Feb. 22, 2016- It looks like incubation started on Feb. 20 around 3 p.m.
Volunteer Naturalists witnessed what appeared to be the female Eagle laying an egg. After observing the eagle for a little while longer, they were able to confirm that the female is incubating. (No way to know how many eggs though) Eagles lay their eggs a few days apart with incubation lasting 25 days. A hatch should occur around March 26, give or take a day or two. An average of 20 weeks goes by from the time the eggs are laid to when the young eagles leave the nest.
Over the last 11 years, the earliest incubation was on Feb. 19, 2006 and the latest was last year, March 8, 2015. Eagles can have between 1 and 3 eggs taking 3 to 5 days for an egg to develop. Ohio Eagles average 1.7 per nest and ironically so does the Walborn nest.
For the next five weeks we will see the eagles head and back above the sticks in the nest. The male will bring in food and trade off with the female to give her a break. The Eagles will move around and turn the eggs about every hour and will never leave the nest for more than a few minutes.
Feb. 3, 2016- 2016 marks the 11th season for the popular nest. It produced 17 young over the first 10 years.
It appears that the courtship started in early January probably due in part to the warmer weather. The first indication was on Jan. 4 when both eagles were making repairs to the nest. Late January brought consistent sightings of both eagles at the nest. We hope to report incubation behaviors happening in the nest soon.
The observation deck area had some upgrades made since last fall including a new entrance sign from Marlboro Ave. and an improved trail from the driveway to the deck.
Sept. 7, 2015- It looks like the two juvenile eagles have headed out on their own. The last sighting was Aug. 20, they might be around the area somewhere or maybe the western Lake Erie basin.
Aug. 3, 2015-The eaglets are celebrating their sweet 16th birthday (in weeks). One of them has been spotted on a limb with a small fish in its talon.
They will continue watching their parents to learn and develop their own hunting skills, the parents will not let them go hungry but will gradually stop providing food. At some point, they will head out on their own most likely to the western basin of Lake Erie. They can continue to watch other eagles and learn from them with plenty of fish in the water to hunt.
July 18, 2015--The two young eagles are about 14 weeks old and developing the hunting and instincts to survive. They will not be at the nest nearly as much so seeing them can be a challenge. Sometimes they are perching in the trees along the shore line with the parents close by. They will observe their parents to learn how to hunt their own food. The parents will continue to provide food to help them survive for a little longer.
It is hard to estimate just how long they will stay around here. Nature is an awesome thing and very hard to predict. Most of Ohio’s young Eagles go to the western basin area of Lake Erie. There is not an explanation for how they know to go there. There are a lot more open areas for them to develop their flying and hunting skills in that area.
At around 2.50 years old they will return to the general area they fledged from and settle within a 50 to 100 mile radius. An eagle gets its white head at around 5 years old and can live to be 25 to 30 years old.
Ohio now has over 200 known eagle nests. 341 eaglets were counted in 2014 from those 200 nests throughout Ohio.
July 3, 2015--The two juvenile eagles are 11 weeks old. Both of them were out on the limb yesterday. Expect to see them walking on limbs and hopping in and out of the nest. The parents will continue to provide food for them while they develop their own flying and hunting skills. They learn everything by watching their parents.
They should be flying in the next two weeks and hopefully hang out at the nest tree for a while. It is entertaining to watch them fly out of the nest and circle back as they build confidence.
A widened parking lot was installed with a new trail leading to the observation deck.
June 19, 2015--The two juveniles are ten weeks old and continue to grow up fast. Mom and dad are busy hunting for food to satisfy their growing appetite. They will be alone at the nest more often while the parents are hunting.
The adults might be perched in the trees on the shoreline out of sight. It's worth the wait to see them fly over, it is just hard to predict when they are going to come in and feed. Late evening seems to be a good time though.
They are doing a lot of wing stretching and hopping, this helps to strengthen their wings and prepare them for their first flight. It looks like they are frustrated and just want to take off, but it must be an awesome feeling to them. When I watch them through the spotting scope I always feel like they are looking right back at me.
They should start to fly by the middle of July.
June 6, 2015--Entering the eight week old mark, the two juvenile eagles continue to grow and eat more. They can regulate their own body temperature, stretch their wings a lot, and will go out on the tree limbs to flap their wings.
Their first flight should be around the thirteenth week or about July 15. They should be ready to leave the nest by week 15 at the end of July.
On average an adult Eagle is about three feet (beak to tail feathers). They have a wing span from 72 to 90 inches. They can fly to an altitude of 10,000 feet and reach speeds of 30 to 35 mph.
May 22, 2015--The two young eaglets are 5 to 6 weeks old and should be developing their secondary feathers. (An eagle has about 7,000 feathers!) Their appetite will increase along with their size, the growth each week is really noticeable!
You might see some wing stretching happening on your next visit. The parents will start to leave them for periods of time since they are able to regulate their own body temperature. The adults will be busy finding food and feeding the two eaglets.
May 12, 2015--The two Eaglets are about 4 weeks old. They are starting to get their secondary feathers and will change from fuzzy little eaglets to darker feathered birds. They are around one foot tall and will soon begin to stand and stretching their wings.
They will be near full size in another eight weeks. At six weeks they will be able to regulate their own body temp and won’t need mom to cover them as much. She will still protect them from too much sun or rain.
Activity in and around the nest will increase. The eaglets appetite increases with their size. Mom and dad will be busy trying to provide one large fish a day for each bird.
The ten year old nest has produced 17 total eaglets.
April 20, 2015--Signs of a hatch were first observed April 15 with the female feeding at least one eaglet. On May 1, 2015 two eaglet heads were spotted.
Osprey in the area have been pretty active too with many reported sightings. They are a little smaller than an eagle and eat only fish.
They have a white head and under side with a brown band around their head . They nest on top of poles and utility towers in the area. Their wings are thinner than an eagle and they fly with a full stroke.
You might catch eagle watching volunteer, Jim K., at the Observation Deck on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. and some Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 3 to 6 p.m.
March 10, 2015--Volunteer Eagle Watcher, Jim K., observed the following last weekend: "The behavior of the two adult eagles had me guessing for a few days, but I am certain that there is at least one egg in the nest. On Friday evening I saw the female eating a lot. On Saturday the female left the nest several times for a period of time but some courtship activities were taking place. Sunday and Monday brought more consistent signs of incubation with egg turning and the female eagle changing positions in the nest. "Eggs are laid a few days apart, it usually takes 5 to 10 days to develop. It takes about 35 days for eggs to hatch which will be around April 12.
January 12, 2015--2015 marks the tenth year for the Walborn Reservoir nest. Both adult eagles were spotted at the nest together for the first time this year on the morning of January 11. It looks like they have been working to add sticks to the nest.
Entering into the courtship and new breeding season, one eagle flew off and returned twenty minutes later with food. The pair typically begins incubation in late February or early March, the eggs take 35 days to hatch usually the last week of March or first week of April.
Fifeteen eagles fledged from this site during the last nine years. We lost the original female in 2013, the new young female came to the nest a few days after the disappearance and successfully paired up with the male. Although too late in the mating season for 2013, the pair produced two young eaglets in 2014.
October 14, 2014--October usually doesn't bring many eagle updates because the young have gone and the adults are in their routine. A little twist this year has been a juvenile eagle hanging around the nest. Our volunteer eagle expert, Jim K., says it could be from this year but he believes it is about three years old and might have been from this nest. (Offspring of the previous female adult eagle and current male adult eagle) We can only speculate where it came from, but seeing three eagles at the site is interesting.
July 21, 2014--The 15-week old juvenile eagles are doing what is expected at this stage in their development; flying around and searching for food. The parents are still helping them with food though.
Last Sunday evening the male adult baited one of the young by dropping a fish into the nest.
As a juvenile was coming in to get it, the female adult picked it up and pulled it across the nest. The juvenile grabbed it and covered it with it’s wings until the mother backed away from it . When the second juvenile came in, it once again covered it to keep it protected. This is a good sign in their development.
I have noticed a lot of activity in the evenings after 6:30 p.m. On my last two visits, I have seen them come in to the nest between 7 and 8 p.m. I will continue to stop by in the evenings on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays as long the juveniles in the area. Bring bug spray if you come out in the evenings to watch!
June 30, 2014--The two young eagles are 12 weeks old and have been doing a lot of wing stretching, hopping, and limb walking. Most young eagles fly between 11 and 13 weeks, so it will happen at any time. We should continue to see them in the area for a few more weeks before they venture out on their own.
Most of the young hang out on the nest tree, but sometimes can be found closer to the water on low branches. A good place to look is in the trees near the power lines if you do not see them in the nest tree.
June 20, 2014--The two juveniles are about 11 weeks old now and have been doing a lot of wing stretching and hopping in the nest. They should start going out on the tree limbs soon and start flying in the next two weeks.
The parents will continue to provide the food, but no longer need to feed it to the juveniles. Later in the summer they will leave the nest. It is common to see young eagles in the western basin of Lake Erie where it is easier to find food. They can also improve their flying and landing skills. A recent news ODNR news release reported 200 eagle nests in Ohio with an estimate of 350 eaglets in 2014.
May 15, 2014--The two young eaglets are about 6 weeks old and doing great, they are about a foot tall and are growing their feathers. They should be hopping and stretching their wings in the nest soon. They should be eating at least one large fish each day to continue growing.
May 9, 2014--The eaglets are five weeks old and enjoying the fish being brought to the nest.
April 28, 2014-- Two eaglets are in the nest and there is a lot of activity around it. A total of 15 eaglets have come out of this nest in the last 8 years. Look for Jim K. there at 6 p.m. on Thursday nights and from 3 to 6 p.m. on Sundays during May.
April 7, 2014-- At least one eaglet has hatched and is being fed, we'll know how many eaglets are in the nest in about two weeks.
March 3, 2014-- Jim emailed, "I am sure that there are eggs in the nest now. On Feb. 27 I saw what looked like an egg turning and then on Saturday the adult eagles traded off and on the nest." Jim is predicting a hatch around April 3.
December 16, 2013-- Volunteer Eagle watcher, Jim K., stopped by the Walborn Reservoir nest site twice today. No sign of them at 9 a.m., but both eagles were perched on the limb around 1 p.m. He expects them to start working on their nest more over the next few weeks and become a little more active.
August 28, 2013-- An established pair of eagles has been observed again at Walborn Reservoir. The pair has bonded with continued activity around the nest site. The new female is on the left and the original male with the brighter white head is on the right. Early evening seems to be best time to see them.
May 10, 2013-- For six of the last seven years, the eagles at Walborn Reservoir have produced chicks—a total of 13 eaglets. In 2013 a new female eagle appeared. There is no way to know what happened to her predecessor, but no eggs were produced at this nest this spring. Consequently, the eagles’ visitation to the nest is sporadic and unpredictable. While you may be lucky enough to see one of them flying around Walborn or Deer Creek Reservoirs, their flight range can be quite large.
In 1979 there were only four Eagle pairs in Ohio. The exact number now is uncertain, but the count was well over 300 nests at the end of 2012. There were 321 known eaglets hatched in Ohio in 2012 from 210 nests that were being monitored. For information on Ohio’s monitoring program, visit the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resource’s Division of Wildlife.
The eaglets at Walborn Reservoir have never been banded by ODNR for safety reasons: the tree on which the nest sits has been struck by lightning several times and may not be stable enough to withstand the weight of humans. It was determined that it was more important to preserve the nest and its babies than it was to band any birds that matured.
Want to learn more about Eagles? www.baldeagleinfo.com
Stark Parks reminds visitors that laws protecting eagles define how close you can get to a nest; do not walk any closer than the wooden Observation Deck that is provided at 13600 Marlboro Avenue NE, Alliance, north of Allen Drive.