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Discover the joys of urban birding with the best

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Urban Birder David Lindo brings his message to Cleveland

The talented and influential British birder, David Lindo, is bringing his knowledge and appreciation for urban birding to Northeast Ohio on Saturday, Nov. 2, for a busy week of walks and talks.
Lindo is a celebrity in his hometown of London, where he is hailed as a Pied Piper for spreading the joys of urban birding – a pursuit that should strike a familiar chord for many birders in the Cleveland area.
Lindo is working in concert with the Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society, which is launching the Urban Birding Cleveland initiative, and as part of a publicity tour for his new book, “How to be an Urban Birder.”
“I love seeing what cities that are new to me have to offer,” Lindo said in a feature story in Waterlife Magazine. “There’s always a surprise in store, and I do mean surprise… There’s not a single urban center that hasn’t given me something astonishing as a reward for my visit.”
Lindo shares my love for urban birding, making it hi…

Fall birding brings excitement and frustration

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Northeast Ohio's lakefront habitats provide best Fall birding opportunities

Two alliterative words best describe the theme for Fall birding in Northeast Ohio: Furtive and Frustrating.
Fall birders quickly recognize the furtiveness of migrants as they arrive along the lakefront in the cool morning hours following an arduous flight across Lake Erie from Canada. They are hungry and desperate to reach their neotropical destinations in Central and South America, fueled by a feast of bugs, fruit and seed.
As many as 40 percent won’t survive the roundtrip journey. Thousands are killed every year by collisions with windows at downtown buildings. Fortunately, several hundred stunned birds are rescued by the amazing volunteers of the Lights Out Cleveland group.
The best birding in the area can be found in the vicinity of Lake Erie such as the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve, Headlands Beach State Park, Mentor Marsh Preserve, Wendy Park, the Lorain Impoundment, and the Sandy Ridge Reservati…

Aerial View Redux: The birds and wildlife of Brazil

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The tour of a lifetime: Brazil

Over the past 30 years, my friends and I have acquired a love and appreciation for the wildlife, natural beauty and residents of Central and South America, embarking on more than 15 tours there. But our most recent adventure was our first visit to Brazil, specifically the Pantanal region, a veritable Garden of Eden and the largest wetland in the world.
We were blown away. It truly was a trip of a lifetime.
Tropical birds were our primary targets during the two-week tour, and our group of mostly Northeast Ohioans spotted 300 species. They included such dazzling rarities as zigzag and agami herons, dozens of jabiru storks, and greater rheas, a flightless bird similar to an ostrich, and South America’s largest bird, standing more than five and a half feet tall.
But equal sources of excitement were the wild beasts of Brazil: jaguars, tapirs, giant anteaters, giant otters, caimans, monkeys, anacondas, and numerous other mammals and reptiles.
Fortunately, the Panta…

Explore the national park in our backyard for fabulous birding

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Looking for summer birds? Check out Ohio's only national park
When I was a student at the University of Akron, I launched a writing project about a dream plan I had heard about that required me to interview my congressman, U.S. Rep. John Seiberling of Akron.
Seiberling had a vision for a federal land grant that would preserve a green buffer zone between Cleveland and Akron, protecting the 33,000-acre Cuyahoga River corridor from almost certain development.
Today, 45 years later, Seiberling’s dream is a reality: the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, an environmental treasure and one of the best birding destinations in Northeast Ohio.
So when my son, Bret, recently came home for a visit and suggested we spend some quality time birding, it was only logical we would head out for the CVNP.
Bret has been my birding partner since he was 12, and is one of the best birders I know. He graduated from Columbia University, and is preparing to begin his second year at the New Jersey Medical School, so…

Bald eagles aren't the only target birds at Sandy Ridge

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Birders venture to Lorain County for avian beauties

There’s a wonderful wetland habitat in Lorain County that is familiar to birders and hikers, but a mystery to many people outside of the North Ridgeville area.
The Sandy Ridge Reservation is a 310-acre wildlife preserve that’s been open to the public for 20 years, sitting like a hidden oasis of woodlands, ponds and meadows, surrounded by a burgeoning sea of new housing developments.
During the waning weeks of the summer doldrums, when other parks in Northeast Ohio are quiet and uninviting as the birds seek shelter from the blistering sun, Sandy Ridge remains active and one of the most rewarding destinations for birders and nature walkers in the Cleveland area.
The wetlands are easily navigable via a network of flat, gravel paths atop raised earthen dikes. The trails pass through wide expanses of marsh grasses, shrubs and wildflowers, primarily swamp and common milkweed, wild monarda, Joe Pye weed, ironweed, sunflowers, and button bush, m…

To beat the summer heat birders should learn the songs

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Summer heat, heavy foliage adds to birding difficulty; knowing the songs helps
Contrary to a widespread misconception, the summer months are NOT the best time for birding in Northeast Ohio.
Which is not to say there aren’t plenty of desirable species to see during the hot and humid span of late June, July and August. The conditions just require birders to make a few adjustments in their approach, and to work a little harder to locate and spot the birds.
Fortunately, the majority of summer birds are in the process of finding mates, defending territory, nesting and raising young, which inspires the males to sing. So it helps to know your songs.
Summer trees and shrubs are lush with foliage, providing sources of food and cover for the birds, but making sightings especially difficult for birders. Knowing the songs is beneficial in this pursuit.
All of these factors came into play during a few recent bird walks through some of the best local habitats. At each of the sites, the only realistic op…
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A Carolina vacation provides Ohioans colorful birds, tasty seafood and sunny weather
The hot, sunny shores of South Carolina have long held a magical appeal for Ohioans seeking a vacation from the cool, wet springs of the Midwest.
Clear evidence of this can be found in the plethora of license plates from the Buckeye State on the Carolina roads and parking lots, and in the chance meetings of fellow Ohioans wearing Cavs, Indians and Browns T-shirts.
But the Carolina coast and the surrounding Low Country region near Charleston also can provide an especially exciting opportunity for Ohio birders.
My family has been visiting this part of South Carolina for nearly 30 years, and most recently for a week at the Kiawah Island Resort the first week of June.
The beaches , pine woodlands and brackish swamps of the area provide habitat for dozens of bird species seldom found in Ohio. And as a reward, the ocean waters are rich with shrimp caught daily by boats typically mobbed by gulls and pelicans, and…