Showing posts from April, 2019
Ohio City construction project works around nesting falcons

With an $11 million restoration project of the historic Forest City Bank building in Ohio City nearing completion, the last thing superintendent Walt Gachuk needed to throw off his scheduled fall opening was a bird nest in the attic.

Not just any bird nest, but a pair of American kestrels with five eggs in the nest, hidden behind a hole in the soffits that skirt the roof of the old brick building located at the intersection of Detroit Avenue and West 25th Street.
The building once housed the now-closed Massimo da Milano and Keifer’s restaurants. Now its only residents are a pair of kestrels, North America’s smallest falcon, about the size of a mourning dove.
But Gachuk was unaware of his feathered guests until last week, after his workers at the Snavely Building Group prepared to repair the hole in the soffit. Suddenly, they were dive-bombed by the kestrels. Gachuk contacted the Ohio Division of Wildlife, which inspected the nest…
April welcomes the first waves of migrating birds, in anticipation of May
We’re still weeks away from the much anticipated songbird migration of May. But I especially enjoy birding in April.
Spring’s arrival at the end of another long, cold Northeast Ohio winter brings a botanical awakening and the welcome appearance of short-distance migrants.

As winter visitors such as dark-eyed juncos and tree sparrows depart for Northern nesting grounds, they are being replaced by part-time migrants such as white-throated and white-crowned sparrows, as well as fox and Lincoln’s sparrows, and local nesters such as chipping, song and swamp sparrows, and Eastern towhees.
On warm, breezy days, the skies can become filled with migrating raptors and waterfowl.
Rainy evenings often trigger a cacophony of spring peepers, chorus and wood frogs, and a mass trek of frogs, toads and salamanders lured to vernal pools for breeding.
At dusk, American woodcocks can be heard calling from fields where they flock togeth…

Birding the Rio Grande Valley, dreading the Wall

ALAMO, Texas – As the nation debates the wisdom of a potentially devastating wall along our southern border, the wildlife that shares this spectacular stretch of habitat continues to survive and thrive in the Rio Grande Valley of southeast Texas.

We can only imagine how long this situation will last. Already, noisy bulldozers are belching exhaust and plowing mountains of soil adjacent to the National Butterfly Center, which remains in business in defiance of the threats just outside its gates in Mission.
Given this mounting uncertainty, I joined a group of Northeast Ohio birders for a week exploring the Valley earlier this month. We feared we would never have this opportunity again, depending on the life or death of the Wall.
I was accompanied by my son, Bret, a first-year medical student at the New Jersey School of Medicine at Rutgers University; Jeff Wert, my friend and birding partner since high school; and Karen Lakus, the talented historical interpreter for the Cleveland Metroparks.