Home again: First bald eagle nest in more than a century in St. Joe county

USF&W photoPerched high in the air on a former osprey nest, the symbol of patriotism didn’t make a sound, even as its message seemed to echo across the wetlands of Potato Creek State Park: Look who’s back.

Back, as in the first (possibly, hopefully) breed-ing pair of bald eagles in St. Joseph County in at least a century.

Back, in a much more broader sense, from the brink of extinction less than 50 years ago, when pesti-cides such as DDT contin-ued to wreak havoc on the eggshells of eagles and other large birds.

Tim Cordell, the state park’s naturalist, said the sight of a bald eagle pair last week building a nest in the park has caused quite a stir from visitors, who have posted the birds’ pictures on social media.

Although bald eagles are not rare in Indiana – migrat-ing birds are frequently spot-ted in fall, winter and spring as they hunt waterfowl along the St. Joseph River – a nesting pair is a new phe-nomenon.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, biologists reintroduced bald eagles to southern Indiana, where the birds established nesting sites near the large reservoirs of the White and Wabash rivers.

Since then, the eagles have been slowly expanding their range, as new nesting pairs looked to avoid competing for resources.

“We had a pair a couple years ago that stayed around the park for about six weeks,” Cordell said, “and people got pretty excited about it.”

READ MORE: Home again: First bald eagle nest in more than a century – southbendtribune.com.