Welcome to the Ohio Wildlife Education Update. This blog is developed and maintained by the Ohio Division of Wildlife Outdoor Education Section for formal and non-formal educators alike who have an interest in teaching and learning about Ohio's wildlife.
Here is another entry from Jamey (Graham) Emmert, our resident bird nerd and Wildlife District Three's Wildlife Communication Specialist.
“Fee-bee!” I walked out the front door of my office in Akron
on March 26 to hear the sweet sound of an Eastern
phoebe calling his heart out. Spring has finally arrived! My much-needed and more frequent jaunts
outdoors to enjoy what the vernal equinox has to offer brought with them many
gifts. I served as witness to nesting red-shouldered hawks, an influx of
yellow-bellied sapsuckers, and a chubby little winter wren bouncing about the
brush, all in just one week!
As you may have noticed, I’m a birder or as my friends
warmly refer to me, a bird nerd. There is seldom an excursion, whether it’s hiking
or shopping, when I don’t have my binoculars within reach. It’s an incurable,
contagious, and wonderful state of mind with which you must associate yourself
if you haven’t already and now is the time. Males are currently dressing into
breeding colors making them readily identifiable with the proper guidebook or
guide-person, the weather is gorgeous even on a rainy day, and many of the
birds here now will likely stay throughout the summer and into early fall at
least. This gives you plenty of time to get to know these feathered gems.
For a good look, grab a good pair of binoculars (graduate to
the next level of birder by calling them “bins”) and by good, something along
the lines of 8x40 will do well. Read more about choosing binoculars on page 22 of the Wild
Ohio magazine Spring Issue.
Start watching around your house or local park or better
yet, if you’re a teacher, your school grounds. If watching bird feeders near a
house, nature center, or school building (which you should), you’ll likely encounter
cardinals, blue jays, house and song sparrows, house and gold finches, black-capped
chickadees, tufted titmice, red-bellied and downy woodpeckers, and
white-breasted nuthatches. (side note: the Ohio Division of Wildlife
administers the WILD Schools Sites program which encourages school communities
to attract and learn about wildlife; funding is available. Read more at ohioprojectwild.org).
A simple field guide to watching Ohio’s backyard birds is
something to have in your pocket to get started with field identification and
to make notes so you can journal your experience. Once your comfort level with
feeder visitors peaks, head out to different habitat like a woodlot or marsh to
gain some new species.
A mix of wet and forested habitat is always a good birding spot.
Have fun, enjoy the fresh air, and be amazed at how many
wonderful creatures are flitting about that you might have otherwise missed!
You’re sure to see other wildlife like deer, coyotes, snakes, and frogs which
keeps things very entertaining.
While flying solo (pun intended) can be great for the mind,
so too can sharing the joy of birding with friends, family members, and
students in your life, so please pass it forward when you can.
To read more about birding
in Ohio, visit wildohio.com and click on ‘Experience Wildlife.’