By JIM ABRAMS
The 30th annual Ohio Wildlife Diversity Conference will once again highlight some of Ohio’s conservation success stories that often occur in the unlikeliest places.
Entitled “Superheroes Among Us,” the conference will recognize some of the amazing abilities of Ohio’s wildlife while recognizing many of the people who work so diligently to preserve and understand these creatures.
This year’s keynote speaker is photographer and author David FitzSimmons from Bellville. FitzSimmons has published conservation books, articles and photographs during his career. His presentation is entitled, “The Superpower of Wildlife Photography.”
Other topics at the conference include citizen science and barn owls, range expansion of Ohio’s fishes, volunteers enhancing cavity-nesting bird populations, the American woodcock, the influence of taxidermy on museum collections, aerial wildlife surveys and strategic trail camera placement.
The conference will be held on Wednesday, March 12, at the Aladdin Shrine Center, located at 3850 Stelzer Road, Columbus. Doors open for registration at 8 a.m. and the conference runs from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The conference is sponsored by the Division of Wildlife and is open to the public. People may register online at wildohio.com or call 800-WILDLIFE. Registration before Wednesday, Feb. 26, costs $25, and the cost will be $35 after that date. A reduced-price student registration is also available for $10.
Along the Way:
From February to mid-April, bald eagles will initiate nesting activities throughout Ohio and wildlife officials expect another successful breeding season.
These large, majestic birds attract a lot of attention and many Ohioans are seeing eagles as the state’s breeding population expands and the number of offspring produced each year continues to increase.
Ron Minard of rural Arcadia reports that the newest eagle nest in Hancock County is just south of Findlay near the U.S. 68 overpass and that the birds have been seen flying over the south end of the city.
Dr. Miguel Jordan, a physician at the Clark Women and Children’s Center whose office is on Lake Cascades, reports that these new Findlay residents have been frequenting the lake near his office while scavenging for food and loafing, and he’s even had the rarer opportunity of seeing the pair breeding.
The female will lay one to three eggs in mid-February to late March. Both she and her mate share both the time incubating the eggs and feeding responsibilities of the youngsters.
The adult bald eagle is easily recognized. It has snow-white feathers covering its head down to the neck area and on its tail feathers, while the body is very dark brown, almost black. Yellow eyes, beak and feet accent the bird’s appearance.
Immature eagles are almost uniformly dark brown. Their undersides are mottled white with buff and cream blotches. They won’t develop the white accents until they reach 5 or 6 years old.
When hatched, the eaglets are altricial, meaning that they’re helpless and dependent upon their parents for survival. As adults, they can weigh nearly 14 pounds and display an 8-foot wingspan.
• Tomorrow: Fostoria United Sportsmen’s Winter Trap League. Signup starts at 9 a.m. and five-man teams are required. The 50-bird program will begin at 10 a.m. and will run for six weeks. For information, call 419-435-9175.
• Feb. 22: State Boating Education Course, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Bass Pro Shops, 10000 Bass Pro Blvd., Rossford. Cost is $5 per person. Pre-registration is required. State law requires that any person born on or after Jan. 1, 1982, must show proof they have completed an approved boating safety education course to operate a watercraft powered by a motor over 10 horsepower. For information or to register, call 419-836-6003, or online at http://watercraft.ohiodnr.gov
• April 5: Whitetails Unlimited Banquet to be held at the Cube. Doors open at 4 p.m. For tickets, contact 419-422-8451 or 419-422-1182.
Abrams is a retired wildlife officer supervisor for the state Division of Wildlife in Findlay. He can be reached at P.O. Box 413, Mount Blanchard, OH 45867-0413 or via email at email@example.com.