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The Eagle                                 

What does it mean to be an Eagle Scout? How does one become an Eagle Scout? Why does it require a project? These are common questions to someone who hasn’t achieved the rank of Eagle. For those very few who have reached the summit, the answers are easy. But what if I told you the work of an Eagle is helping another bird of prey reestablish itself in Ohio. The project you are about to read about, is currently home to a family of five.

Neil Metzger | Troop 256 | Bluffton, Ohio

Peregrine Falcons have been around thousands of years, being the choice bird for royalty in the Middle Ages. Primarily used for hunting because of their strength and intelligence, the peregrine hit a rough patch in the 1970s due to the use of DDT. The chemicals disrupted the production of calcium levels in egg production, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The birds are making a comeback, being delisted from both the state and federal endangered list, and Neil Metzger can add his name to the many individuals who have had a hand in bring the bird back from the brink.

When you can say your project is “Sitting atop the Chase Bank Building in Downtown Lima.” You know you did a pretty neat project. In total, Neil and four other volunteers put in 59 hours to create a home for the peregrine falcon. The project, paid entirely for by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, even has a camera which send real time photos of the inhabitants. 

Jaron Beck, an Outdoor Skills Specialist for the ODNR Division of Wildlife, provided some more specifics on the nest. “The nest in Lima had been occupied by an older female named Majesty for a number of years.  Last year a new female moved in and took over the nest box with an unbanded, unidentifiable male.  This new female was recently named Loretta on a Facebook poll.”

“I picked the project because I wanted to assist in the process of helping native species return to the area. Plus, I got to go on the roof of a tall building.” This enjoyment and sense of giving back was a lesson learned along the way in Scouting. “The path to the Eagle rank has really helped me learn to enjoy the outdoors and the beauties of nature. It has also helped me develop many leadership skills as well.”

Scouting has been a journey for Neil and achieving the Eagle Rank was a culmination of his career in Scouting. “Becoming an Eagle Scout was important to me because I saw it as the pinnacle of my Scouting experience after all the time I spent with my Troop, being on camp staff, and being active in the Order of the Arrow.”

Neil’s project will continue to live atop the Chase Bank Building in Lima, and the population of falcons in the nest recently grew. On May 4, Loretta the falcon and her unidentified male partner welcomed three hatchlings into their home.

(Pictured Left: Loretta feeding her new arrivals. Click the image to visit the live camera for updates.)

If you have a Black Swamp Area Council Scouting story to share, contact Matt Kibler at matt.kibler@scouting.org.

Black Swamp Area Council
2100 Broad Avenue, Findlay Ohio
(419) 422-4356