Trumbull fair for learning about animals on the land, in the attic
By Ed Runyan
One of the chief attractions of the Trumbull County Fair is the opportunity to see farm animals up close.
But a display by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife helps people better understand animals on the wild side.
Division workers are spending time at the fair this year to talk about bald eagles, bears, coyotes, even raccoons and groundhogs.
Attracting attention just inside the ODNR tent is a life-size replica of a bald eagle’s nest, just like 13 or more such nests that have been identified in the county.
The nest, complete with replica eggs the same size as real ones, is made of sticks, pine branches and other nest material. Its creators added a small turtle and fish bones to show other things commonly found in such nests.
Jerry Usselman of Champion, president of the Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, said some nests can weigh up to 2 tons.
Martine Cisine, ODNR wildlife officer for Trumbull County, said the bald eagle population in Ohio has been a “success story,” because bald eagles were once rare.
“Now it’s common to see eagles, especially around large bodies of water,” he said. “All area lakes have them on the lake or nearby.”
In 2016, the ODNR estimates there were 207 bald eagle nests in the state, at least 13 in Trumbull County, Cisine said.
There were only 50 such nests in 2000, Usselman said.
Each nest has a male and female, so that would mean there are at least 26 bald eagles in Trumbull County, plus young eagles.
Cisine says there are bald eagles flying around that people don’t even realize are bald eagles because they don’t get their distinctive white head and white tail until they are 5 years old.
The juveniles are dark brown. When people see them, they notice the large size but frequently don’t know what kind of bird they are.
The Division of Wildlife is providing pamphlets in its tent that explain the things people can do when animals such as raccoons, squirrels, groundhogs and mice start causing problems.
One tip is to trim tree branches that overhang the roof to reduce access by raccoons and squirrels to the roof and attic. Another is to use a gravity-operated bird feeder to discourage squirrels.
Also, seal holes and cracks in the foundation, siding or stucco to keep out rats, mice, bats, insects and snakes, the division advises.
Sick or nuisance raccoons can legally be trapped without a permit, but it is illegal to live trap and relocate them to a new area, the ODNR says.
Cisine recommends that people with questions ask a wildlife officer at the fair or call 330-644-2293.