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Weekend Passenger Pigeon: Cincinnati Zoo and OOS!

Register for this wonderful event and purchase your tickets at the Zoo Store:
You may purchase tickets  for one or both days. 

Passenger Pigeon Memorial Weekend Agenda

FRIDAY 7:00-10:00 pm, Appetizers and drinks until 9:00 pm. Harold C. Schott Education Center. Park in the employee lot off Drury Ave. 
Our Friday night kick-off "Martini's with Martha", a fundraiser for the Cincinnati Zoo CREW (Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife) and the OOS Conservation Fund. Guests are John Ruthven, Joel Greenberg, Jim McCormac, Bill Thompson III, and Dan Marsh. Also joining us will be members of the Masterworks for Nature artists with selected artwork on display. We’ll also enjoy a musical performance by members of two Ohio bands: The Lonesome Strangers and The Rain Crows!  We will have an Origami booth where you can fold your own Passenger Pigeon and be part of the Fold a Flock project. Chris McCullough, an Origami teacher and Dylan,  a Girl Scout working on a special badge, will be on hand to help you! 

Event tickets include cocktails and appetizers from 7 to 9. 

 8:30 to 5:00 pm, Lunch included. Harold C. Schott Education Center.
Spend the morning learning more about the Passenger Pigeon from our great assemblage of guest speakers with stories bringing a message of hope for future species and lessons learned from the Passenger Pigeon. Speakers: Dan Marsh, Director of Education, Cincinnati Zoo, John Ruthven, wildlife artist, Joel Greenberg, author "A Feathered River Across the Sky", Jim McCormac, Ohio Division of Wildlife, author of "Wild Ohio: The Best of our Natural Heritage", Brian Jorg, Manager of Native Plant program, Cincinnati Zoo. 

2:00 to 5:00 pm- there will be opportunity for some fantastic local tours: a visit the Zoo's native plant garden with Brian Jorg, native plant Manager, and a preview of the new Passenger Pigeon Memorial then a visit to CREW or a visit the Cincinnati Museum Geier Center for Research and Collections to see specimens on display, featuring birds past and present. 
You may stay and visit the Zoo until closing at 5:00 pm. Dinner on your own. 

Saturday Birding at Fernald Nature Preserve 6:00 pm to 10:30 pm  
We will look for Shorebirds and early Fall migrants on Saturday afternoon at Fernald Nature Preserve and learn about the successful restoration from an environmental disaster to a thriving area for wildlife.  Brian Wulker, Fernald naturalist and amazing birder, will lead us to look for shorebirds at the preserve. Afterwards, we'll learn  about the federally endangered Burying Beetle and the partnership between the Cincinnati Zoo and Fernald to bring this species back from the edge of extinction. Stay for the evening walk  "Sights and Sounds of the Night"  and stop by the Mothing sheets to see what arrived at the lights! Open to the public.  6:00pm to 10:30 pm. 

Sunday Birding 8:30 am to noon 
We will spend Sunday looking for more shorebirds and early fall migrants around the Cincinnati area. We have several places to visit including the Oxbow, and important wetland area that is an important resting place for many ducks, herons and shorebirds during migration. 

You may want to consider staying over for the WEBN fireworks on Sunday. This annual event attracts more than 500,000 people from all over the Midwest! There are many places to visit in Cincinnati, including restaurants and shopping along the "Banks" along the Ohio River. You can walk across the bridge from Ohio to Kentucky, and visit some interesting points of interest in Newport, Kentucky. We will have more information available for you at the conference. 

Problems with registration? Email OOS member Kathy McDonald at: We’ll see you there!

More News

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 »

Grassland Birds in 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:

Learn more »

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!


Lessons from the Passenger Pigeon. Here is a clip from KY Afield featuring Dan Marsh from the Cincinnati Zoo explaining the life and death of the Passenger Pigeon. Although this is sad for all bird lovers to watch, the lessons that we have learned from this extinction will help scientists and researchers to prevent another  tragedy of a species in the future, and can assist in managing endangered and threatened species successfully. 

Mark your calendar now! You will have a chance to learn more about the Project Passenger Pigeon when OOS partners with the Cincinnati Zoo on the weekend of August 29 to 30, 2014 for the Passenger Pigeon Weekend featuring guest speakers Dan Marsh, Director of Education, Cincinnati, Zoo, CREW (The Cincy Zoo's Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife, Joel Greenberg, author "A Feathered River Across the Sky", Jim McCormac, Biologist and author of "Wild Ohio" and Brian Jorg, Manager of Horticulture, Cincinnati Zoo.

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! 

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.