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Bald Eagles Return to Cuyahoga Valley

A brown-and-white eagle flying with wings spread wide and grass in its talons.
An adult bald eagle flies with grassy nesting material in its talons.

NPS/Jim Kaftan

Why Are Eagles Here?

The Cuyahoga Valley, with expansive, secluded wooded wetlands and rebounding fish populations, has become an ideal place for eagles to feed and nest. The great blue heronry in the Pinery Narrows was a natural choice for the eagles’ first nest location. Eagles prefer tall trees and pre-existing nests that they can expand. Bald eagles have been steadily increasing throughout the nation. In Ohio the greatest concentration occurs along western Lake Erie near Sandusky, from where eagles have been dispersing to new areas.

A brown immature eagle stands upright on a diagonal, dead tree trunk.
An immature bald eagle - the first known to have fledged within the park - pictured in 2007.

© Vaughn Stitt

How Many Eaglets Hatched at Pinery Narrows?

Beginning In 2006, bald eagles built a nest in the Pinery Narrows area in Brecksville, the first recorded in the valley in modern times. That nest was unsuccessful, but the breeding eagles returned and nested the following years with these results:

Year Nesting Results Cumulative Total: Number of
Eaglets Fledged
2007 One eaglet successfully hatched and fledged. 1
2008 One eaglet successfully hatched and fledged. 2
2009 A late winter storm in February caused the nest to fail. -
2010 Two eaglets successfully hatched and fledged. 4
2011 A storm in early March blew down the entire nest tree; another nest was started but no eggs hatched. -
2012 One eaglet successfully hatched and fledged. 5
2013 Two eaglets successfully hatched and fledged. 7
2014 Two eaglets successfully hatched and fledged. 9
2015 The nest failed for unknown reasons. -
2016 Three eaglets successfully hatched and fledged. 12
2017 Two eaglets successfully hatched and fledged. 14
2018 One eaglet successfully hatched and fledged. 15
2019 One eaglet successfully hatched and fledged. 16
2020 One eaglet successfully hatched and fledged 17
Two dark-brown eagles fly next to each other with wings spread wide.
Two juvenile eagles at play in mid-air during the spring of 2013.

© Jim Kaftan

Continued Protection

The US Fish and Wildlife Service removed bald eagles from the list of Threatened and Endangered Species on August 9, 2007. In an amazing coincidence, this was about a month after the Cuyahoga Valley's first eaglet fledged. These birds are still protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Both federal laws prohibit taking, killing, selling, or otherwise harming eagles, their nests, or eggs.

Visit our Bald Eagle page to learn more.

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    Cuyahoga Valley National Park

    Last updated: November 22, 2021