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01-31-06 Soaring over Grand Lake is another pair of bald eagles

By Nancy Allen

  A second pair of bald eagles is building a nest along Grand Lake, a local wildlife official said Monday.

  Sean Finke, the wildlife coordinator at the Mercer Wildlife Area, said a resident spotted the pair and contacted state officials during this past weekend.

  Finke would not divulge the location of the nest, but The Daily Standard has learned it is visible from Aquaview subdivision on the south side of the lake.

  Finke said the pair is young and this likely will be their first try at laying and incubating eggs. He cautioned the public to stay away from the nest so it has the best chance of success.

  "The first year is always tough to have a successful nest," Finke said. "We have a very large lake, but it's more populated with people ... it's just how much they are going to tolerate people."  There is no way to tell where the new pair came from, he said, noting the state stopped banding eagles some years ago. He plans to take a boat out in the lake later this week to get a better view of the nest.

  Finke said officials believe this is the same pair that started building a nest on the lake's south side in November before the nest blew down.

  The state's volunteer eagle watcher for the area, Jill Bowers, learned about the second pair recently from Finke. Speaking by cell phone this morning, she said she is excited about the news.

  "Our state biologist always said there would be a second pair some time, but our lake is so congested with people and there are so few nesting trees, I wasn't sure," Bowers said. "Wouldn't you know he was right."

  Bowers of St. Marys has been observing eagles on the lake for the division of wildlife since 1996. She has been watching the lake's resident pair since 2000. That pair is adding material to the same nest they raised three eaglets in last year. That nest is located in the top of a heron rookery at the southwest corner of the lake. Their nest is about 212 miles east of the new pair.

  When asked about the possibility of conflicts between the pairs, Bowers said it is possible, but the lake should provide an ample enough food supply that it lessens fighting. Bald eagles eat primarily fish.

  "There will be conflicts," she said. "They will just have to work it out."


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