Meeting the eagles from Mentor Marsh

Becky Donaldson, a naturalist from the Mentor Marsh, talks to kids at our Headlands Branch about the bald eagles who live in Mentor Marsh.

Becky Donaldson, a naturalist from the Mentor Marsh, talks to kids at our Headlands Branch about the bald eagles who live in Mentor Marsh.

Naturalist Becky Donaldson wasn’t able to bring the actual bald eagles who nest in Mentor Marsh with her when she visited our Headlands Branch this Saturday, but she was able to bring a few interesting artifacts (including a skull) and her vast knowledge of Lake County’s most famous raptors.

Here are just some fun facts that we learned Saturday:

  • Did you know that there were as few as four nesting bald eagles in Ohio in the 1970s? There are now probably more than that just in Lake County. (We think there are six or seven in Lake County, but it’s difficult to say for sure because some are on private property.)
  • The eagle pair moved into Mentor Marsh in 2010 when they took on an abandoned redwing hawk nest. Since then, they’ve raised (an estimated) four eaglets, including one this year.
  • Bald eagles mate for life, usually only splitting if one of them disappears or dies. However, eagle pairs that have failed to breed after multiple tries may go their separate ways.
  • Bald eagle nests can be up to 13 feet deep, eight feed wide, and weigh as much as one ton.
  • They need a lot of space because their typical wingspan is between six and 7.5 feet.
  • Bald eagles are opportunistic carnivores, meaning they’ll eat whatever’s available. That includes other birds, mammals and even roadkill; but fish make for most of their meals.
  • Bald eagles can fly as fast as 43 miles per hour.
Kids practice flapping their wings at Mentor Library's Headlands Branch.

Kids practice flapping their wings at Mentor Library’s Headlands Branch.

To learn more about bald eagles, in general, and the nesting pair that lives near us, come to Mentor Marsh’s Bald Eagle Fest from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 3.

You can help build a mock eagle nest and meet some of the marsh’s animal ambassadors.

You can also take a guided hike of the Marsh’s bald eagle nest at 12:30, 2 and 3:30 p.m. The 2-mile hike is on unimproved and sometimes muddy trails, so be ready for weather. Spotting scopes will be provided; but you can bring your own binoculars, if you prefer.

Also, you need to make a reservation if you want to go on one of the nest hikes. You can make reservations by calling 440-257-0777, emailing rdonalds@cmnh.org, or messaging the Mentor Marsh Facebook page.

Peyton checks out a replica bald eagle skull.

Peyton checks out a replica bald eagle skull.

Of course, you can also learn about eagles by checking out a book or documentary from Mentor Library.

There are also a few fun raptor nest webcams you can watch, if you want to see these amazing birds in their natural habitat.

These eagles in Hanover, PA, have a pair of eaglets; these eagles in Iowa have three nestlings; and, for some local raptors, these peregrine falcons in Cleveland atop the Terminal Tower have five eggs waiting to hatch.

Gabriel compares his wingspan to a bald eagles.

Gabriel compares his wingspan to a bald eagle.

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