Winter is prime time for bald eagle viewing in Ohio – Outdoor News

Columbus — Winter is an excellent time to watch for bald eagles, according to the Ohio DNR (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. Bald eagles begin courtship and nest-building activity in January and February, making now one of the best times to view them.

Ohio’s bald eagle population has increased dramatically in recent years, with an estimated 910 nesting pairs statewide in 2023. Look for eagles near their preferred aquatic habitats such as rivers, wetlands, and lakes. The absence of foliage makes winter a great time to spot eagles improving their large nests along waterways.


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Bald eagles in Ohio typically lay eggs and incubate in February and March, nesting in large trees such as sycamores, oaks, and cottonwoods. Meanwhile, frozen lakes and rivers force the birds to expand their hunting grounds in search of fish and carrion, their foods of choice.

Winter provides viewing opportunities for immature bald eagles as well as adults. The white head and tail of the adult bird contrasts sharply with its dark body, a distinctive feature used to identify the species.

An immature bird is more difficult to identify and has a mottled brown and white plumage for four or five years before attaining the recognizable field marks of an adult.

A good pair of binoculars or even a spotting scope is recommended to spot birds at long distances.