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Bald Eagle Population Increases, 4 Nests In Columbus

The population of bald eagles has soared across Indiana as officials have spotted four nests in a city more than 45 miles south of Indianapolis.

Indiana's Department of Natural Resources officials say there are four eagles nests in the Columbus area in Bartholomew County. Three of the nests have been reported as active, including one most recently spotted is located along the Flat Rock River.

Allisyn Gillet, a non-game bird biologist with the department, said the fourth nest is listed as unknown for activity because it hasn't been checked since 2010.

Gillet said 300 pairs of bald eagles have been identified as continuing to nest in Indiana, with nearly 160 nests that are being continually monitored considered to be in good shape.

Gillet said it's possible a pair of eagles at a nest that previously has been reported in Mill Race Park could've decided to move to the Flat Rock River area to have two nests from which to choose. Most eagles carve out about a mile between nests, and the distance between those two nests would fit that.

But eagles have also been known to sometimes build a new nest nearby and then decide which one they prefer from year to year, Gillet said. Eagles sometimes will build and move to a new nest if they haven't been successful in raising young in the previous home.

Gillet said eagles in Indiana will look for a large tree near a large body of water and build their nest near the center trunk of the tree, high in the air.

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