Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons
For a park that’s virtually surrounded by urban areas, Cuyahoga Valley National Park has a surprisingly diverse roster of wildlife, including many state- and federally endangered species and species of concern, such as the peregrine falcon and bald eagle. It is a nesting site for both of these majestic birds of prey. The local rebound of the bald eagle in particular is thought to be owed at least in part to a corresponding resurgence in local fish populations. To date there are two known pairs of peregrine falcons that nest in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Great Blue Herons
The successful nesting colonies of Great Blue Herons in the Cuyahoga River Valley are the result of several factors linked to conservation. Increased number of fish have helped fill a crucial gap in the herons’ diets, and dams built by a thriving beaver population have created habitats conducive to nesting. Great Blue Herons — the largest heron species in North America — like to build their nests in high trees near wetlands, and beaver dams help create and preserve wetlands. Some heronries (heron nesting colonies) in Cuyahoga National Park can be found in Mudcatcher Ravine, near the Station Road Trailhead and on Bath Road.
Beavers have made an amazing comeback in Cuyahoga Valley. Once extirpated (made locally extinct) from the Cuyahoga Valley as a result of hunting and habitat destruction, these industrious, semi-aquatic rodents were the focus of some the National Park Service’s earliest repopulation efforts. Their return has had a positive impact in the park, as their dams help create and regulate wetland ecosystems, to the benefit of fish and bird populations.
Seven species of bats have been identified in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, including a federally endangered species, the Indiana bat. The bat population of northeastern Ohio is threatened by a deadly fungal disease called white-nose syndrome. To help prevent the spread of the disease, the park has prohibited visitors from entering Ice Box Cave.