Join OOS and Rockjumper Worldwide Birding Adventures for a trip to Africa in February 2014! The provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga on South Africa's eastern seaboard boast some of the country's finest birding and exceptional mammal viewing. An impressive 750 plus species of bird occur in the region, reflecting the wonderful natural diversity of the area; and this, coupled with a modern infrastructure well suited to the needs of the modern traveler, makes birding here an absolute delight. From the classic African savanna of the world-renowned Kruger National Park and the teeming Zululand game reserves, to the bird-rich coastal forests of northern Natal, this tour of Eastern South Africa offers the very best of southern African birding and game viewing.
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!
Locating & Reporting Birds Using FRS Radios
We've probably all been the last to hear about a rarity that's just down the road. Postings to ABA's Birding News, Ohio will have a time lag and require both sender and potential readers to have an internet connection. Cell phone calls and texts can only go to one person at a time and also need decent signal strength. Even passing information from car to car in caravan is difficult. One solution is the Family Radio Service (FRS) “walkie-talkie” system. Broadcasts don't depend on cell towers or WiFi hot spots and are received by anyone who's in range and on the same frequency.
FRS radios are readily available, inexpensive, and lightweight. OOS recommends the combination of Channel 11 and Subchannel 22 for birder use. The American Birding Association (ABA) pioneered the 11/22 combo and several other state birding organizations have adopted it. This combination does not require a license because all makes of radio broadcast at 0.5 Watt on Channels 8-14. (Some state clubs suggest using Channel 5 or 6. However, many brands of radio broadcast at 1.0 Watt on Channels 1-7 and using this higher power require a license). There are, of course, limitations. The broadcast is line of sight which means that calls from a valley won't go far. The range, while nominally up to five miles for most radios, is more like one to two miles on flat land. FRS is most useful in wide open areas like Killdeer Plains, the Ohio Power lands near The Wilds, and Ottawa NWR. The radios, however, should not be used in crowds like those on the Magee boardwalk. Let's keep in touch!
Success! Here are two nestlings inside Kestrel box number 19. As of June 20, 2013, there were two occupied boxes with 9 nestlings, making OOS proud parents and partners in the American Kestrel Partnership. You can help to support this effort by visiting the donation page.
OBCI (Ohio Bird Conservation Initiative), Ohio Ornithological Society, the Ohio Division of Wildlife, and Ohio Department of Transportation are working together to construct and install about 25 nest boxes for American Kestrels on the backs of highway road signs. This project was sponsored by the American Kestrel Partnership that provided funds for nest boxes.This type of program has been highly successful in other states including New York, Iowa, and Tennessee. OBCI and its partners hope to reverse the recent declines in the populations of North America's smallest falcon. On December 11th and 12th, the partnership installed 21 nest boxes on highway road signs. The boxes were installed at least 1/2 mile apart on signs with access to open, grassy areas. Starting this spring the boxes will be monitored by volunteers to measure occupancy rates and reproductive success. Monitoring results will be used to guide selection of signs for future installation of kestrel boxes in other parts of the state. Picture courtesy Amanda Conover.