Prior to 1991, bald eagles had not nested in Indiana for more than a century. Before the summer of 2013, the same could be said of bald eagles in Steuben County! Nearly 20 years ago, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources began releasing a handful of bald eagles on large reservoirs in south-central Indiana. The reintroduction of a bird that last nested in Indiana back in the 1800's proved to be successful.
The elimination of harmful pesticides, the re-establishment of natural wetlands and undeveloped lakes, the cleaning of rivers and waterways and laws protecting them as individuals all played roles in their recovery. They reproduced and began expanding their range.
We knew a few years ago it would be just a matter of time before a pair of bald eagles passing through, or even wintering in our beautiful lakes country, would find it attractive enough to stick around in the summer and build a nest. What we did not expect was for the first pair to pick one of the busiest of our 101 lakes and a very busy state park, but that's exactly what they did.
The first nest in more than a century successfully produced a pair of young eagles. The birds found it so much to their liking that this year they have returned to the same Pokagon State Park nest site, high in a tall oak, along the Lake James shore, within view of Snow Lake. When visiting the park or anywhere within a short flight of Lake James this summer, watch for this magnificent national symbol soaring over the waters or perched along the shoreline. (Photos courtesy of Lana White Lee and information courtesy Pokagon State Park)