STARK COUNTY -- Stark Parks reports that Walborn Reservoir's two resident eagles have returned. This is the eighth year for the nest in NE Stark County.
Jim Kavelaris of Atwater, a volunteer for Stark Parks and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, first saw the pair at their nest on Jan. 5 from 3-4 p.m.
One of them flew away at 3:20 p.m., but the other stayed for the entire hour.
"At this time of the year sightings will be spotty," said Kavelaris, but he has seen at least one of the eagles at various times over the past few weeks.
When the weather warms up this spring, Stark Parks will schedule specific hours for viewing the eagles, and Kavelaris will set up spotting scopes for visitors to get good views of the eagles and their brood.
The eagles are starting to add material to the nest and will soon begin their courtship. The Walborn pair has produced 13 young eagles in the past seven years.
They usually start incubation by late February or early March. Incubation lasts about 35 days, which usually gives a hatch by the first week in April at this nest.
During incubation there will always be an adult eagle at the nest, with the other one nearby. According to the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources website, during the 2012 nesting season there were an estimated 213 nesting pairs of eagles in 62 counties of Ohio.
There were an estimated 321 eaglets hatched in Ohio in 2012. This contrasts with only four pair of eagles in the entire Great Lakes region in 1979.
On the morning of Jan. 29 from 9:45 to 10:15 a.m., Kavelaris observed a lot of activity at the nest. Both adult eagles were there and each flew off and returned with clutches of grass and mud several times.
One came within 100 yards of Stark Parks' Observation Deck on its property east of Marlboro Avenue and got a clutch of grass.
While sitting in the parking area, Kavelaris also observed several Eastern Blue Birds, Phoebes, and Black-Capped Chickadees.
"The area along the tree line is a great place for birding," said Kavelaris.
If you decide to go get an early-season look at the eagles, 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.
Kavelaris recommends that you bring binoculars or a spotting scope and be patient.
"If you don't see them at first, look all around the 'nest tree' as well as in the other trees nearby, especially the pine to the east of the nest tree."