The group gathers most every evening in parking lot C-5. It's here, on this patch of blacktop on Christman Road, that they first met, drawn together a few months ago by the neighborhood bald eagles — a handsome pair with a couple of youngsters.
Their nest is at the edge of Nimisila Reservoir in Green. Now that the eaglets are a few months old, they have learned to fly. Still, they hang out around home because they count on Mom and Pop for food.
The humans, with binoculars and long-lensed cameras, watch the birds from about 100 yards away, often gasping or applauding with each flight.
Tom Henry, a volunteer with the Ohio Division of Wildlife who monitors the nest, said the chicks were hatched around April 18. But some of the bird-watchers, including Scott Blend of Perry Township, believe it may have been earlier.
A part-time landscaper, Blend, who is considered by the parking lot gang as their resident expert, used to spend seven hours a day watching the birds. But once the weeds and grass made their spring debut, Blend was forced to return to work, cutting his birding hours to three daily.
The nature lover, who looks more like a college student than a 49-year-old, began to frequent the area a few years ago because of its sporting opportunities, such as hiking and kayaking, and its stillness.
''I come out here in the morning with my Bible and read verses,'' he said. ''The eagles? They are just an extra blessing. It gives me joy to see what God has created.''
In his pocket, Blend carries a dog-eared diary that fits into the palm of his hand. In it, he writes about each eagle event.
Blend penned that he first witnessed the male eaglet flying at 6 p.m. July 8. The female, about 10 days later.
''The male was a little wobbly,'' Blend recalled. ''They have mastered flying now, though their landings can still be shaky.''
It's hard to know how long the eaglets will remain in the area, but the parents, which mate for life, will return next year to the same nest, having remodeled it during the cooler months with additional sticks.
If there's one thing that gets the bird-watchers all aflutter, it's the sighting of an osprey.
''It's the villain in this soap opera,'' someone in the group shouted.
Though some bird experts say it's unusual to have an osprey, which is much smaller than an eagle, try to pick a fight with its bigger cousin, the C-5 parking lot gang maintains the birds in this neighborhood are used to each other, making the fish hawks, as the osprey are often called, very brave.
Henry, a retired wildlife biologist, said ospreys will aggressively defend their nest from eagles flying over the reservoir — and there are four osprey nests at Nimisila.
Eagles will also go after fish caught by the osprey, although Henry said he was unaware of any serious conflicts between the two bird species.
Green's Mary Lou Chatman, who comes with her husband, Bob, to watch the birds, said the ospreys tease the eagles — kind of like a pesky little boy pestering his teenage brother on a date. Only this brother has a seven-foot wingspan and talons that are among the largest and strongest in the world.
When Mary Lou arrives each day, she pulls out her spotting scope, attaches it to a tripod, focuses in on one of the birds, and gently nudges everyone else to take a peek.
During a recent trip to the area, the eaglets, which still have dark heads rather than the trademark white, were perched near each other on a white pine branch. It seems even they were bothered by the ongoing heat wave because their mouths gaped open — an indication that they were hot.
''Sometimes, the parents go to the drive-through and bring them back a bag of ice,'' Blend said, chuckling. ''Maybe that's where they are now.''
So many people are showing up at the reservoir in hope of spotting the birds that Natalie Cross, who lives nearby, joked that they should set up a lemonade stand and a battery concession.
When the eagles are still, or hiding, the friendly birders chat and pose with each other for pictures. Much of the conversation is focused on the pets that tag along with their owners.
Natalie and her hubby, Skip Cross, told the group that their Jack Russell terrier, Mitch, died after their last visit to see the eagles. The couple passed out photos of the 14-year-old pooch to their friends. Mary Lou cried.
''Are you going to get another dog?'' Bob Chatman asked.
''Ah, that's a silly question,'' said a barefoot Natalie, holding a photo of Mitch to her chest. Of course she will.
As dusk fell, making it difficult to spot the birds, the friends decided it was time to call it a night.
''See ya all tomorrow,'' Mary Lou shouted.
The daily missions to parking lot C-5 have taken on a whole new meaning. The eagles? They are just an extra blessing.
Kim Hone-McMahan can be reached at 330-996-3742 or email@example.com.