A bald eagle was sighted Thursday morning along the banks of the Blanchard River, something that would have been nearly impossible in the 1980s, said Meredith Gilbert, communications specialist with the Ohio Division of Wildlife, District 2.

Gilbert said only four bald eagle nests existed in Ohio in 1979. But thanks to the outlawing of DDT, a pesticide that made eagles eggs brittle and caused them to break, as well as some other conservation efforts, the eagles came back.

There are now about five or six nests just in this area, Gilbert said.

ll the nests are close to water, either the Blanchard River or another large body of water. Bald eagles eat fish, but they wont pass up roadkill or other easy prey, Gilbert said.

Bald eagles were listed as an endangered species in 1973, but they were taken off the list in 2007. Eagles are still under federal protection, however, and its not legal to disturb the nests or adult eagles, or to collect their feathers.

Because the eagles arent listed as endangered any longer, they are not as closely monitored as they once were. But they are distinctive, Gilbert said, with their white tail feathers, dark brown bodies, white heads and yellow beaks.

Theyre definitely becoming much more common around the state, Gilbert said.