By James Hannah
The Associated Press
A record 304 bald eagles have been counted in Ohio, the most in 24 years. Wildlife officials credit a reduction in contaminants and the bird's ability to better tolerate people.
This month's midwinter count found 45 more eagles than were spotted last year.
When the survey began, in 1979, only six eagles were found.
"That's a real jump," Mark Shieldcastle, eagle biologist for the wildlife division of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, said Monday.
The number of eagles nationwide declined dramatically during the 1960s and 1970s from habitat loss and chemicals in the environment.
Eagles remain an endangered species in Ohio. It is illegal to hunt the birds, and their nest areas are legally protected.
Expansion of the eagle population in Ohio began taking off in 1989, when the number of birds more than tripled - from 13 to 42.
During this year's survey, eagles were spotted in 45 of Ohio's 88 counties, a record number. While counties along the western shore of Lake Erie reported the most eagles, a few were found in southern Ohio counties near the Ohio River.
'GREAT NEIGHBORHOODS' SERIES
Complete guide to Blue Ash
TOP LOCAL HEADLINES
Butler Co., N.Ky. vie for FedEx unit
Krings' contract bypassed auditor
Schools will lose if taxes don't rise
New test of heart risk gains ground
PULFER: Guilty by reason of wealth?
RADEL: I'm getting used to the white stuff
AROUND THE TRISTATE
Seeking Tristate connections overseas
Record cold doesn't stop river traffic
Newport man jailed in Clermont slaying
Lawmakers ready to spin Bush speech
WTC searchers to get screening
Tristate A.M. Report
Obituary: Laddie Snyder founded business
Good News: Heroes in war against cancer
Wooly mammoths find new home
Portune sets deadline for NFL
Sharonville near deal on skating rink
Health care facility part of school plan
Police uncover officer's dark side
Judge: Courts not lax on perjury
Middletown tries to stave off budget deficit
Milford schools to cut $1.5M if levy fails
Ohio Bicentennial Moment: Inventor celebrated as 'Black Edison'
Bald eagles' numbers grow
Fireman accused of murder in wreck
NKU freezes hiring
Election in new district is today
N.Ky. schools to close for rally against cuts
Parents want to keep A.J. Jolly running
I-75 stretch to close overnight
Newport man charged in homicide
Patton's ex-cabinet leader to run
Speeding violation nabs 2 jail escapees
2 suspected of mail theft