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America#039;s bird spotted in rare county flights

WILLOW WOOD - In these parts, an American Bald Eagle is a rare bird, indeed.

But some residents said they have recently spotted the national symbol in Lawrence County.

Robert Burcham, of Willow Wood, said he saw a bald eagle on two different occasions a week ago on State Route 378 between the 4- and 5-mile markers.

"It was an adult," Burcham said. "It had white tail feathers and a white head. … I think this is pretty rare. It's neat to see one."

"It is unusual," agreed Eddie Park, forestry and wildlife technician for the Wayne National Forest. He said an eagle has also been spotted at Timbre Ridge and on Buck Creek Road 3 miles away. Park said he does not know if these sightings are of the same bird or if there is more than one eagle flying around the area.

Park said eagle nests have been at Yatesville lake in Lawrence County, Ky., Ross County and in places along the Scioto River.

According to a survey last month by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the number of bald eagles in the buckeye state is growing.

A preliminary count put the eagle population at 366. According to the survey, eagles were found in 55 counties. Lawrence County was not on that list. The birds were most often found in the counties on the western edge of Lake Erie. Eagles were reported in neighboring Pike, Ross, Highland and Scioto counties.

Each January, ODNR officials conduct a survey of how many American bald eagles are wintering in the state. Their effort is in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.