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Eaglet emerges for its close-up

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    A bald eagle is spotted recently in Westfield Township. An eaglet is shown peeking over the nest.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF RICH KUBIS

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An eaglet was born recently in Westfield Township.

Nature photographer Rich Kubis, 59, of Medina, captured a picture of the mother bald eagle and her baby.

“It’s kind of rare,” Medina County Parks Director Tom James said. “A few years ago, it would have been extremely rare. The bald eagles have made a remarkable recovery in the last 10 years.”

Kubis said he had been watching a tall tree near the intersection of Kennard Road and Westfield Landing for a while before he got the picture. He used his Nikon D3100 camera that has a 150-600mm lens.

Typically, nest heights are 50 to 125 feet tall.

“It’s not new,” James said of the nest. “The nest he’s taking pictures of has been there four or five years. It’s had several successful broods.

“There was a nest at the Medina Marsh (on Fenn Road in Medina Township) in the past. I’m not sure they came back this year.”

James said he suspects there are other eagle nests in the county, but they have yet to be identified.

Laura Jordan, executive director of the Medina Raptor Center in Spencer, said the Westfield nest has been there since at least 2009, maybe longer.

She did a one-hour program on eagles Monday night for the Briarwood Beach Garden Club in Chippewa Lake.

Jordan said she knows about the two nests in the county, but suspects there are several more. She said there are rumored nests in Chatham and Litchfield townships.

“I’ve scoped them out and can’t find the nests,” she said. “It’s not on the (Ohio Department of Natural Resources’) radar any more. They are no longer on the endangered species list.”

Jordan said bald eagles were taken off the endangered list in 2007.

“I know when I was growing up (in Rocky River), we didn’t see eagles,” Jordan said. “The population is increasing.”

She said she took care of six eagles at the Raptor Center last year.

Jordan said there were four breeding pairs of eagles in the United States in 1979. Those numbers increased to 207 breeding pairs in 2016. They produced 327 eaglets.

James said environmental controls placed on pesticides have helped the eagles’ plight.

“DDT was the prime cause of their problems in the past,” he said.

Eaglets remain with their parents for 10 to 12 weeks, according to learner.org/jnorth/tm/eagle/facts_life_cycle.html.

Fledglings often stay around another one or two months to learn flying and feeding skills from their parents.

Bald eagles in the wild usually live about 25 years. In captivity, they can live into their 40s.

They eat reptiles, birds, mammals and fish.

Jordan said she is worried about the nest in Westfield.

“The sad thing is it’s in an ash tree,” she said. “I’m afraid it’s going to fall. I don’t want to go traipsing into a swamp looking for babies.”

Jordan said the nest could weigh almost a ton.

“That’s a lot of weight on that tree,” she said.

She said she loves informing the public about eagles in Medina County.

“It’s a fun thing to talk about,” Jordan said. “Sometimes I’m shocked that people don’t realize there’s an eagle’s nest in their own backyard.”

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.

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