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Weekend Passenger Pigeon: Cincinnati Zoo and OOS!

2014 marks the centenary of the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon-once considered the most abundant species in North America. OOS will partner with the Cincinnati Zoo on August 29-30, 2014, to explore the legacy of the Passenger Pigeon. We have packed a lot into this weekend and registration is NOW OPEN!  

From the Friday night fundraiser, to Saturday morning speakers, followed by your choice local tours, we have a fun filled time while at the Cincinnati Zoo's Education Center. Then on Saturday night we head West of Cincinnati to the Fernald Nature Preserve to look for shorebirds and other waterfowl, a presentation on the endangered Burying Beetle-a venture between the Zoo and Fernald, and finally ending with a Sounds of the Night Hike! We will have some lights setup to look for moth and other insects too.  On Sunday morning, we will have another fun filled field birding trip to the Oxbow!  (Full Agenda on the next page)

Register for this wonderful event and purchase your tickets at the Zoo eStore: https://tickets.cincinnatizoo.org/affiliate.asp?ID=DDD64B86-495E-4CC1-AE24-593E949B0131
If prompted for a Password, enter  'pigeon'. (All lower case). 

Problems with registration? Contact OOS board member Kathy McDonald at: mkmcdonald@me.com
Click here for a map of the Cincinnati Zoo: http://cincinnatizoo.org/plan-your-visit/zoo-map/.
Full Agenda on the next page. 

See Weekend Agenda Here »

Champions in Conservation: The Wilds in Rural Ohio, by Kyle Carlson

Nestled in the Appalachian foothills of southeastern Ohio, approximately 75 miles east of Columbus, are nearly 10,000 acres of reclaimed surface mine habitat unlike any other area in the state. One of the world's largest conservation centers has been located here since 1984.

Birders know The Wilds as a phenomenal area to watch birds, especially in winter, when dozens of Northern Harriers, Rough-legged Hawks, and Short-eared Owls cruise over the grasslands, hunting for meadow voles. Regular occurrences of Golden Eagle and Northern Shrike add to the allure of winter birding at The Wilds. The summer months bring an array of grassland songbirds to the mix: Grasshopper, Vesper, and Henslow's Sparrows; Prairie Warbler; Bobolink; and the occasional Blue Grosbeak. The Wilds is truly a year-round birder's paradise. The National Audubon Society made it official by designating The Wilds as an Important Bird Area.

But did you know that The Wilds is more than just a great place to watch native birds? The nonprofit organization's mission is “to advance conservation through science, education, and personal experience.” They accomplish this through innovative research, numerous outreach programs, and unique safari tour experiences.

Learn More about the Wilds »

Birding Festivals

Looking for a birding festival this summer? Visit the Bird Watcher's Digest  "Festival Finder" page to have look for festivals around the country. This is a great way to get to find birds with local guides and field trips to hotspots in the area, and a fun way to get to know other birders too!


We have an exciting line-up of field trips, speakers, conferences, and other state-wide birding and educational events scheduled in 2014. Some of these are still in the planning stages, so be sure to check back often for updates. Please check our calendar page for upcoming events. We hope to see you there!

Following OOS just got easier!

OOS is utilizing a variety of e-tools to help you to learn more about birds, conservation, our birding partners, and OOS events. Check us out on the OOS Facebook page by searching for ' Ohio Ornithological Society'.  This page has over 1,400 likes and continues to grow. There are daily updates posted about various events and other bird and nature related news. Did you know that OOS is on Twitter?  Search ' OOS ' to follow us there.  And, we have a brand new blog page called "Ohiobirds". This blog is great for posts on various topics with searchable titles for past blog posts.  We welcome guest bloggers, and if you are interested in sharing with us, send us an email. We appreciate hearing from our birding partners! 

Pesticide Use and Grassland Bird Decline

First Bees, Now Birds
From Pesticide Action Network North America

Prairie bird populations are falling in many Midwestern states, from ring-necked pheasants to horned larks to sparrows. Scientists now say insecticides are a primary culprit.

Minnesota birds are hardest hit with 12 species in decline, followed by Wisconsin with 11, and Illinois, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska and New York with nine affected species each.

The recent study looked at a range of possible causes of the population declines, including habitat loss which has long been considered a key driver of the problem.

Bird conservationists are “still concerned” about range management, urban development and loss of habitat, but are now focusing additional attention on the harmful impacts of pesticides. According to Cynthia Palmer, Manager of the Pesticides Program at American Bird Conservancy:

[This study] suggests that we also need to rein in the use of lethal pesticides in agriculture, and that we need to be especially careful about any new pesticides we introduce into these ecosystems such as the neonicotinoid insecticides.

Neonicotinoid use has increased dramatically in recent years, and as we've reported here before, many studies link this class of systemic pesticides with dramatic honey bee declines. American Bird Conservancy is expected to release a toxicological assessment of neonicotinoid impacts on birds and other organisms soon.

The current study was conducted by Dr. Pierre Mineau, a scientist recently retired from Environment Canada, along with Mélanie Whiteside of Health Canada. Using pesticide-use data from the 1980s and 1990s, the study focused on organophosphate insecticides such as diazinon and chlorpyrifos, as well as carbamates. According to Dr. Mineau:

What this study suggests is that we need to start paying a lot more attention to the use of pesticides if we want to reverse, halt or simply slow the very significant downward trend in grassland bird populations.

Blogs from Ohio Birders and Naturalists

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