Latest News

CATCH THE FIRST WAVE AT SHAWNEE STATE PARK!

The first warbler migration wave that is! Registration is open.  We do have some changes to announce. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Lang Elliott will not be able to be the keynote speaker for our upcoming Shawnee event. Luckily, we have booked another great speaker! Wil Hershberger will be our Saturday night keynote on "Celebrating Bird Song". Also, we are happy to announce that Lisa Rainsong will be speaking at one of the Saturday  afternoon sessions on  "Learning by Ear: Observations of a Bird Listener". 

 
We also want to announce that the morning breakfast and field trip start times have been pushed back ˝ hour. For those purchasing breakfast, it will be from 6-7 am. Field trips will leave between 7 and 7:15 am in front of the lodge.  Plan now to join your fellow OOS members at Shawnee State Park near Portsmouth, Ohio April 24 to 26, 2015 and reserve your space! Not only will this event give you a chance to head south to meet the first big wave of spring migration, you'll also get to enjoy excellent presentations, the charm of the Shawnee State Park lodge, and the wonderful fellowship of a bunch of fun, avid birders.  Details and registration here!  Want to join us as a vendor or an exhibitor at this event? It's easy, just complete this form!

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Marsh Madness at Magee 2015!

The Ohio Ornithological Society is  accepting registrations for beginner bird tours during the weekend of International Migratory Bird Day at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area.  ODNR Press Release: The Ohio Ornithological Society (OOS) is now accepting applications for beginner bird tours during the weekend of International Bird Day, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife.

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Great Egret Marsh Preserve Bird and Nature Walk

Meet OOS Board Member Craig Caldwell and Tara Baranowski, TNC Project Manager on May 14, 2015 for a bird and nature walk at Great Egret Marsh Preserve of the Nature Conservancy. The preserve is located at N. Buck Road, Lakeside-Marblehead, Ohio 43440-9610. Walk One from 9-11 am and Walk Two from 1-3 pm. Limit 20 for each walk. Register by email to: edemis@tnc.org or send a text message to 440-665-1348.  Great Egret Marsh Preserve consists of 156 acres of marsh and surrounding upland in Ottawa County at Lakeside-Marblehead (It is across the road from East Harbor State Park which is located at 1169 N. Buck Road, Lakeside-Marblehead OH 43440-9610.  It was farmland and is in the process of restoration. It has trails and interpretive signs. 

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Help OOS while you Shop with Amazon Smile!

AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support OOS every time you shop, at not cost to you. Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. How do I shop at AmazonSmile? On your first visit to AmazonSmile, using smile.amazon.com, you will need to select OOS as your charitable organization before you begin shopping. Amazon will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at smile.amazon.com will result in a donation to OOS.

Give Back Days: Visit Marsh Madness for a Good Cause

Give Back to the Birds Day: Do you have plans for after the The Biggest Week In American Birding? Birds will still be around, with some later migrants coming through like Connecticut!!! What better way to find them than being in the leaf litter helping Friends of Magee Marsh remove invasives on the boardwalk? This will be for just a few hours on a weekday afternoon. We are planning to meet on May 18 and 19th, 2015.    We need to encourage native plant habitat again. It's good for the birds! OOS will be there and your help is needed. Fill out the volunteer application today located on the Friends of Magee Marsh website ( it takes a long time to get approved) and come work and bird with us! 

Will You Accept the Rusty Blackbird Challenge?

Rusty Blackbirds have experienced an 85-99% population drop in the last half-century. Over the last 15 years, research on Rusty breeding and wintering ecology has allowed us to develop conservation strategies to protect this vulnerable species. But many questions still remain, and Rusty Blackbird migration habits are largely a mystery. Are there hot spots where many Rusties congregate during migration? Are similar migratory stopover areas used by Rusties each year, and are these areas protected? The International Rusty Blackbird Working Group, in partnership with eBird, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Smithsonian, and the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, is launching a spring migration Blitz. The objectives of the Blitz are:1. Identify migratory stopover sites; 2. Determine consistency of numbers/timing of Rusty Blackbird migration;3. Strengthen relationships with state and federal agencies in order to advance Rusty Blackbird conservation;4. Engage the birding community and create increased awareness and excitement about Rusty Blackbirds
Go to rustyblackbird.org/outreach/migration-blitz  to help advance understanding of one of the most rapidly declining landbirds in North America!

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!

The Passenger Pigeon in Ohio

Passenger Pigeons in Ohio

Historian Caleb Atwater observed in 1838 that passenger pigeons still passed through Ohio in huge numbers in the spring and fall, adding that "[f]ormerly the pigeons tarried here all summer, building their nests, and rearing their young, but the country is too well settled for them now; and so, like the trapper for beaver, and the hunter, they are off into the distant forests, where their food is abundant, and where there is none to disturb them in their lawful pursuits." Actually, large nesting colonies survived in a few spots in the state after the middle of the century, even though there were growing numbers of humans who continued to persecute them. 

By 1882, Wheaton, born in 1840 and author of Report on the Birds of Ohio, observed it had become "much less abundant and irregular." Less than twenty years later its extinction in the wild was complete. Lawrence Hicks in 1935 summed up its former abundance in “immense numbers in every section of the state and presumably breeding generally, though usually locally and in very large colonies,” citing confirmed large nestings historically in rural Licking, Pickaway, Morrow, Huron, Wayne, Medina, Columbiana, Portage, Trumbull, Ashtabula, and Geauga counties. 

Last Records of the Passenger Pigeon:
Still extant is a mounted specimen, now at the Ohio Historical Society in Columbus, collected in the state in 1900, thought for many years to have been the last pigeon verified in the wild.  Martha, a pigeon kept at the Cincinnati Zoo until her death in 1914, is considered to have been the last of all her kind.

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Reporting a Rare Bird Sighting

Part of the excitement of birding comes when we find something unusual, something rare or unexpected that we can relish and share with others. But telling others about your finding, in person or on the internet, is fleeting. Even more important, for the ornithological record, is documenting your record in a permanent way. Reports of rarities, when they can be authenticated and published, help to fill out the total picture of our local avifauna. As records, they can help us all to recognize habitats, regions, or seasons in which scarce species are most likely to be found.

Why Submit Documentation?

Any scientific report of an unusual phenomenon must be supported by documentation: that is, verifiable evidence reported and vouched for by a first-hand observer, submitted for peer review before acceptance and publication. In general, the rarer and more interesting the occurrence, the more important it is to document and verify it for the record.