Three more pairs of bald eagles have made themselves at home in Summit County, boosting the number of nests in the county to four.
Michael Johnson, chief of natural resources for Metro Parks, Serving Summit County, announced the news of two new nests Tuesday.
One nest was built in the Gorge Metro Park between Akron and Cuyahoga Falls, and the other is on park-owned land in Clinton in southern Summit County.
It appears there are two eaglets in the Clinton nest, Johnson said, but officials are unsure if the Gorge nest hatched chicks.
Both nests are remote and inaccessible, he said.
Park officials strongly encourage people to stay away from the nests and not scare off the eagles.
“We need to give them their space,” Johnson said.
Another new nest this year is in Steiner Woods, a 23-acre property the University of Akron owns next to the Bath Nature Preserve, said spokesman Greg Smith, a biology professor.
Officials do not know how many eaglets might be in the Bath Township nest, he said.
There has been a bald eagle nest at Nimisila Reservoir in Green for several years.
Park district workers repairing a trail discovered the Gorge nest last spring, Johnson said. They spotted the eagles and the nest — in a pine tree that is difficult to see — from across the Cuyahoga River.
Marlo Perdicas, a park district biologist, discovered the Clinton nest a month ago in the Clinton Conservation Area that includes a swampy flood plain along the Tuscarawas River. He called it “completely inaccessible ... and very remote.”
Johnson said the park district is not surprised at the news.
There have been reports for four years of eagles along the Cuyahoga River north of Akron, but no nests were found.
Bald eagles are continuing to grow in number, and the birds are showing a growing ability to coexist with humans that wildlife experts did not think they possessed years ago, Johnson said.
The news delighted local birdwatchers.
“Wow. That’s amazing,” said longtime birder Marie Morgan of Akron. “I’m stunned and just so excited. Oh, my word. That’s just so neat ... Isn’t that great?”
Earlier this year, Morgan and other bird watchers went looking for eagles along the Cuyahoga River in Akron and Cuyahoga Falls — with no success.
“We had heard reports, but we couldn’t find any thing,” she said. “Another nest is something we have suspected for a long time ... And it’s so close to Akron and Cuyahoga Falls. That’s just incredible.”
Added veteran birdwatcher Bill Osborne of Cuyahoga Falls: “That’s simply fantastic, and for me, as a birdwatcher, that’s very exciting.”
That eagles are nesting in the Akron area is indicative of how their numbers have grown on Lake Erie and how the birds are moving in increasing numbers to inland locations, he said.
“That’s awesome and really good news,” said birdwatcher David “Woody” Stover of Munroe Falls.
The eagle numbers have rebounded, in part because of a cleaner environment and wiser use of pesticides, he said.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources estimates that there are at least 190 active eagle nests in the state. The number of eaglets in 2013 has not been estimated, officials said.
The number of active nests is down slightly from 2012. In that year, the state estimated 210 nests in 62 of Ohio’s 88 counties that hatched an estimated 321 eaglets.
In 1979, Ohio had four eagle nests.
Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or firstname.lastname@example.org.