Monday, January 16, 2012


Each year the Ohio Ornithological Society hosts a winter event that should be called-
"Birders- Gone Wilds!"
We meet up in Muskingham County, 15 or so mile east of Zanesville in the vast acreage of grass lands at the Wilds.  This is a restoration area from the days of strip mining.  The landscape has been drastically changed from the days of hill sides mined for coal to moonscapes replanted in grasses to reduce erosion.  The International Center for the Preservation of Wild Animals, Inc. has become an extension of the Columbus Zoo and a premiere spot for breeding endangered animals. 

 But it is not the endangered animals that attract this crowd.  This is half  of our 100 plus crowd of bird watchers who come each year to see winter grass land birds like Northern Harrier, Rough-legged Hawk, and Short-eared Owls.

 Marc Nolls (above) helps us organize the event each year, while Julie Davis lined up the guides.  We couldn't make this event run without volunteers-  Especially the folks in the field leading trips..

like Kenny Davis!  He takes his job pretty seriously, even working through his lunch hour.

A couple of years ago the OOS Conservation committee worked the Wilds and AEP to install Kestrel boxes and raptor posts throughout the grass land.  It was exciting to see this Rough-legged Hawk teed up just was we had hoped.  There was also a Short-eared Owl perched atop a Kestrel box- barking his little heart out.  But DUH, I missed the shot!

The Wilds event is always a lot of fun and a great opportunity for many birders to see some unusual winter raptors for the first time.  It is one of the many excellent programs OOS has sponsored over the last 8 or so years.  Go to to learn more about this fine organization and good work we do.

Hope to see you next year at the Wilds!

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