|Immature Eaglet||Mature Bald Eagle|
The Bald Eagle is easily the most recognizable bird in Ohio. Often seen soaring around the shores of Lake Erie, the national bird, is hard to miss. The Bald Eagle has a wing span of 6-7 feet! It’s most notable feature is the white head and tail feathers. Their body is dark brown and eyes, beak and feet are bright yellow.
You may have also seen immature Bald Eagles and didn’t know it. Unlike the adult, the immature eagles are almost uniformly dark brown from head to tail feather. Their undersides are mottled white with cream blotches. They will not reach their adult look until about 5-6 years of age.
Not long ago, catching a glimpse of this magnificent bird was rare! In the first half of the 20th century a pesticide, called DDT, was commonly used on farms having a tremendous impact on wildlife and habitat because of runoff, causing Bald Eagles to be listed as an endangered species in 1940. Due to restoration efforts and the ban of DDT, Bald Eagles were delisted from their endangered status in 2007, and are currently sustaining a healthy population in Ohio and across the country.
Bonding activity for both new and established pairs begins in the fall. Courtship behavior and nest building can occur anytime between October and early December. The female lays 1-3 eggs in mid-February to late March and they usually incubate for 35 days. Both she and her mate spend time on the nest incubating, and then share the feeding responsibilities. The young are altricial (hatched or born in an undeveloped state and requiring care and feeding by the parents) and usually ready to leave the nest after 10-13 weeks (June/July). A female will produce 1 brood (family of young animals, produced at one hatching or birth) each year. If a nest is destroyed, some pairs will "recycle" and initiate a second nest within the same year.
We encourage you to head over to East Sandusky Bay MetroPark to see if you can spot a magnificent bald eagle for yourself!
Bald Eagles at a Glance
Mating: Monogamous, pairs for life
Peak Breeding Activity: Early February through March
Incubation Period: 35 days on average, February through April
Clutch Size: Usually two eggs; with a range of one to three
Young are Hatched: Peak hatching occurs in mid-April
Young: Altricial (helpless and dependent on the parents). They leave the nest at about 10-13 weeks
Number of Broods per Year: 1; however, if a nest is destroyed, some pairs will “recycle” and initiate a second nest within the same year.
Adult Weight: Males - 10 pounds; Females - 12 pounds
Adult Length: 34-43 inches, including the tail
Adult Wingspan: Between 6 and 7 feet
Life Expectancy: 15-20 years in the wild
Migration Patterns: Adults are generally year-round residents; immature birds sometimes migrate during spring and fall.
Feeding Periods: Anytime during daylight hours
Typical Foods: Mostly fish, will also feed upon waterfowl, small mammals, and carrion (dead and decaying flesh of an animal)
Native to Ohio: Yes
|The Coyote (Canis latrans) often resembles a medium-sized dog with its pointed ears, slender muzzle, and drooping, bushy tail. Their fur color varies, usually a grayish-brown with a variation of gray, black or red. The tail usually has a black tip and the eyes are yellow with large dark pupils.|
|The coyote is not native to Ohio, but is thriving well due to its ability to adapt to a wide variety of habitats including grasslands, brush, forests, and even urban and suburban environments. They are primarily nocturnal, active during the nighttime, but it is not uncommon to see a coyote during the day. The Coyote is an extremely intelligent animal with keen senses of hearing, sight and smell. Due to their adaptable nature, they learn to tolerate human presence and have been known to den in storm drains, culverts, sheds etc.|
|Their diet consists of small mammals (voles, shrews, rabbits, mice), vegetables, nuts and carrion. Coyotes are considered opportunistic and will shift their diet to take advantage of the most available food source.|
|Coyotes are monogamous, pairing with one mate for life. Breeding time typically occurs between the months of January and March, and from 1-12 pups are born during April and May. Also, coyotes have the ability to adjust their litter sizes based on food abundance and population density. The first few weeks the pups are helpless, but soon after will start to venture out from the den.|
|Coyotes can be found in many of Erie MetroParks park properties. Generally, coyotes will avoid people and be skittish. However, if you do encounter a coyote during the day that does not run away, it is best to try to frighten it away by shouting loudly, waving your arms or even tossing a stick in its direction. It is very important not to feed wildlife since this causes the animal to lose its wild instinct becoming dependent upon human food and then losing their fear of humans.|
Each MetroPark has it's own management plan, which are updated annually. These plans will provide information about each park, including natural features, unique findings and an inventory of all plant species. We encourage everyone to review these plans and become more educated about the wonderful parks Erie MetroParks has to offer!
Hoffman Forest MetroPark
Observing wildlife can be fun and rewarding. Erie MetroParks offers hiking trails through various types of habitats including prairies, meadows, woodlands, and wetlands. Our naturalists recommend that visitor's bring binoculars and a wildlife identification book.
When you encounter wildlife within Erie MetroParks, please remember the following:
Invasive plants are non-native plants that are capable of causing economic and environmental damage. Invasive plants are characterized by fast growth rates, excessive fruit production, and efficient seed dispersal and germination. These plants are characteristically adaptable and aggressive and with the lack of natural enemies, predators, and pathogens that keep them in check in their native range they have the ability to spread rapidly.
Some invasive plants were intentionally introduced for erosion control, food, forage, wildlife habitat, aesthetics, and medicinal use. Others arrived accidentally through international trade routes. Some invasive plants also escape to natural areas from home gardens.
Fire is often thought of as a destructive force, but prescribed burning is a technique critical for restoring and maintaining fire-dependent ecosystems such as prairies, oak savannas, dry-mesic forests and some wetlands.
Erie MetroParks has several prairies that are maintained by using fire. Prescribed burns can be conducted in spring, summer, or fall, and depending on the season different plants will be benefited and controlled.
This process allows for recycling of nutrients tied up in old plant growth, control of woody plants and herbaceous weeds, improvement of poor quality forage, increased plant growth, and improved wildlife habitat.
A successful burn requires careful planning and preparation by a certified prescribed fire manager. Several factors are accounted for before a burn can take place such a proper weather conditions, particularly humidity, temperature, wind speed, and wind direction along with contacting the local authorities.
For more information about Ohio's prairies and prescribed burning you can visit www.ohioprairie.org.