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Bald eagles find nesting spot in Nelson County

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By Brad Bowman

Although by December most birds have traveled south of Kentucky to somewhere more tropical, such as Florida, the bald eagle considers the commonwealth just south enough.

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On Dec. 18, Stephanie Wimsett, New Haven, came home from church to find two eagles circling her pond on Lyons Station Road.

“I saw the juvenile eagle a few days before but didn’t realize that is what it was because its head wasn’t white,” Wimsett said. “I guess they were fishing around our pond. A few days later the adult bald eagle flew to another set of trees and we haven’t seen him since.”

According to the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website, a nationwide effort to re-establish bald eagles began in the 1970s. The bald eagle population in Kentucky increased enough to meet the criteria for removal from the list of endangered and threatened species.

Most of the eagles reported in Kentucky are the Northern bald eagles that migrate from Alaska. According to the website, baldeagleinfo.com, about half of the world’s 70,000 bald eagles come from Alaska. With the increase of constructed waterways and reservoirs in Kentucky, the land has become a more attractive habitat for eagles as they migrate from Alaska.

Assistant Curator of Education at the Louisville Zoo, Doug McCoy, finds the report to be more common than the public may think.

“There are several nesting sites all along the Ohio River,” McCoy said. “January and February is when they do most of their nesting in this area. They will settle along any large body of water or go there to hunt. They consider this south enough since they have migrated from somewhere farther north.”

McCoy also noted that this is the time for eagle watching in areas such as the Land Between the Lakes.

BRAD BOWMAN can be reached at bbowman@lcni.com.