Few things in our world represent America's strength and its spirit of freedom than the beloved bald eagle.
Though once at the top of the endangered species list, the majestic eagle's numbers have grown, with nearly 10,00 nesting pairs in the United States, according to Fish and Wildlife Service data. And anyone who's ever spotted a bald eagle in flight or resting on a ledge or in a tree knows it's a unique event they won't soon forget.
Given that, we are proud that three eagles have made a ledge along state Route 7 on the Ohio River their home.
Early on they were spotted soaring over the highway and along the river, and Ohio Department of Transportation workers soon found that the eagles' nest rests in a tree located on a ledge that's part of the hillside being cut back north of Brilliant.
Despite the $2 million stone-filled wall that is nearing completion and will protect drivers traveling on Route 7, the eagles' nest was not touched and, in fact, was home to two eaglets earlier this summer.
ODOT had to obtain a disturbance permit from the fish and wildlife service to get within 660 feet of a nest and workers weren't allowed into that zone until a permit was issued, but we greatly appreciate the kids' gloves that were used in helping to keep the eagles safe.
Workers at the site each day have grown fond of the eagles, and in fact, believe the birds "are almost like family." The workers have grown accustomed to watching these majestic birds and seeing them fly to the river and back with fish in their talons. Crew members have even labeled the eagles as "co-workers" of sorts that have been spotted keeping watch over the worksite and its workers.
The overall hillside project could take more than two years to complete, according to officials, and we are hoping ODOT and other construction crews will continue to be mindful of these raptors.
We've also got our fingers crossed that the eagles will continue to feel comfortable and nest in our little part of the Ohio Valley.