The bald eagle nest that has led carloads of people down a little-traveled rural Clark County road this spring came crashing down Friday during a storm.
But, the story doesn’t end there. In fact, it’s on track to have a happy ending.
The two eaglets in the nest not only survived Friday’s fall with flying colors, they were expected to be reunited Monday with their parents thanks to the Glen Helen Raptor Center in Yellow Springs, which has acted as foster parents for the past several days.
“It’s just one of those things that happen. Hopefully, we can still make the best of it,” said Byron Rice, Clark County wildlife officer for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
With the blessing of the private landowner, ODNR hatched a plan to build an artificial nest — or at the very least, a platform — for the reunited bald eagles to call home.
The original nest, on farmland just east of the C.J. Brown Reservoir, was blown out of its tree Friday afternoon. The farm manager saw it fall, which set off a chain of calls to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, then to ODNR and, finally, to the raptor center, which came to the rescue.
Betty Ross, raptor center director for 27 years, arrived Friday and found two eaglets laying at the base of the tree amid a heap of nest debris.
“Just a quick look at them, there was nothing amiss,” Ross said. “They were both alert.”
A veterinarian visit on Saturday confirmed that there were no fractures or head trauma, Ross said.
“At this stage,” she said, “they’re looking pretty healthy.”
The eaglets, which are full-sized but still a couple of weeks from fledgling, according to Ross, were more than likely just shaken up.
“They’ve never walked before,” Ross said. “And here they are on the ground.”
Ross said the parent eagles, which are believed to partner for life, should still be in the vicinity.
“There would be no reason for them to leave,” she said.
While bald eagles were taken off the U.S. endangered species list in 2007, the sight locally of breeding eagles is still a rarity. The Lake Erie area remains the state’s stronghold of bald eagles.
Nests, which typically measure from three to five feet across and from three to six feet deep, aren’t impervious to Mother Nature.
Ohio lays claim to the largest bald eagle nest on record, measuring 12 feet in height and weighing two tons. Located near Vermilion in northeast Ohio, it was used by different bald eagles for more than 35 years, according to ODNR, until finally being destroyed by a storm in 1925.
Jeanne Lampe, whose family owns the local farm, said that most people have been respectful of the eagles. Even so, the man-made nest likely will be built farther from the road.
There was no question, though, about rebuilding the nest.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to have them on our farm,” Lampe said.
The Springfield News-Sun first reported on the presence of breeding bald eagles in Clark County back on May 6.