Last week, on November 8, I was driving north around 11:00 am on Akron-Peninsula Road in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Just north of Ira Road, I noticed a pair of Bald Eagles perched high in a maple tree on the west side of the Cuyahoga River. I pulled off the road, grabbed my Nikon D7000 camera and Sigma 50-500mm lens, and walked back down the road to try to get some photographs. One bird, a sub-adult, took off immediately, but the other, a handsome adult, stayed perched for about 30 seconds before taking flight. I was handholding the camera and lens, since there was no time to set up a tripod. Just one frame of the perched bird was sharp, shown above, plus one fairly sharp photo of the bird just after it took off.
According to an article on the Cuyahoga Valley website, Bald Eagles were almost extirpated in Ohio by 1975, with only four remaining breeding pairs. Since then, they have been increasing steadily, and today there are more than 200 breeding pairs in the Buckeye State, with the largest concentration in the Erie Marshes in northwest Ohio. Locally, a pair of Bald Eagles has been seen regularly in the Valley, and they have nested successfully and raised young. Bald Eagles often take over an existing Great Blue Heron’s nest, and the old heronry in the Pinery Narrows area of the Cuyahoga Valley has been the favored nesting place for the resident pair of Bald Eagles.
The abundant wetlands and expanding fish population along the Cuyahoga River bode well for Bald Eagles, and park naturalists expect the population of resident Bald Eagles to grow.
For more information, check out this website: http://www.nps.gov/cuva/planyourvisit/upload/Bald-Eagles-2011_for-web.pdf