Ohio is blessed with a geographic orientation that brings us lots of birds--both numbers and species. But perhaps more important than high species lists are the large numbers of certain birds that Ohio plays an integral role in supporting, either as part of their migratory corridor or by providing breeding habitat. And since our state has strong influences from all directions--prairies from the west, unglaciated Appalachian plateaus on the south and east, and of course our great inland sea to the north, Lake Erie--we are critical to a broad suite of species.
Is traveling beyond our immediate backyard in search of birds detrimental to avian species? Some folks have suggested birding is bad for birds! Here‘s their reasoning: as we pursue our interest, enjoying birds, and even racing around Ohio (or the region, or the country) building our bird lists, we are also burning fossil fuels--lots of them--adding to greenhouse gas emissions. Scientists believe global greenhouse gasses have already negatively affected bird habitats and migratory patterns. So what can birders do?
The Ohio Ornithological Society joins Black Swamp Bird Observatory and Greater Mohican Audubon Society in educating the public and proposing regulations about the building of wind turbines in crucial migratory bird stopover habitat along the shores of the Lake Erie Marsh Region. There are currently no regulations to prevent "midsized" turbines from being installed near areas sensitive to birding and wildlife.
Major Randal Rogers, of the Ohio National Guard, is currently stationed in Iraq with his unit, the 371st Sustainment Brigade. He has been a member of OOS since its inception, and he has taken his birding enthusiasm with him to Iraq. He has been trying to interest his fellow soldiers in birds, and more importantly, he has been working to conserve Iraq's birdlife. To those ends, he has been publishing a newsletter about the natural history of Iraq, Al-Asad au Natural.