Monday, March 10, 2014

Some "Cool" Cleveland Birds

 Cleveland has been called the "mistake on the lake."  Granted, it is an industrial city. Once its busy ports bustled with freighters and tug boats- the modern day version of tall ships and canal boats. Like any big city it has its problems.
Its been trying to live down the 1952 Cuyahoga River Fire for a long time.  Eventually, they even turned that sow's ear into a silk purse, by naming their most popular locally-brewed beer: Burning River.

Parts of Cleveland, especially in the old industrial "Flats" still look pretty rough. You'll not find this area in the tour books...

Birders gaze onto the avian life "working" the Cuyahoga River.

...unless you are reading a birder's tour book.  Then you may find places like Scranton Flats, Whiskey Island and 72nd St. bridge.  

But Cleveland is making some big, progressive changes.  They are pouring money into these areas, creating corridors for people, and whether they realize it or not, they are corridors for birds and wildlife as well.

Pomarine Jaeger takes flight.
 The big attraction this week has been a Pomarine Jaeger, who puts on quite a show.  We will spend more time on jaegers in a future blog, but for now, just remember most people never get to see a jaeger up-close-and-personal.

Pomarine Jaeger takes a rest.
 Jaegers are wicked fast, birds of prey.  It is a rare thing indeed, to get to witness one at rest.  And look at that new landscaping!  Seems like our "Pom" in interested in the improvements going on in this neighborhood.

A MUST SEE movie!
 My original purpose for traveling to Cleveland was to see this movie, "The Lost Bird Project."

Please, host this at your local birding club or nature center.  It was a very moving and meaningful program that I highly recommend. See it as soon as possible, especially since this year is the 100th Anniversary of the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon.

The movie played to a packed house in Cleveland.!
 Thank you to the Audubon Society of Greater Cleveland, the Kirtland Bird Club and the Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society for combining efforts for the marvelous program, "The Lost Bird Project" and Saving Species, held at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. These people are the "coolest birds" in Cleveland. They proved that you get a full house of engaged bird watchers to attend conservation program!  

Too often the false statement is said, “bird watchers want to pursue birds, and do not care about conservation.”  Bird watchers do care and can be motivated to help protect species and habitats.

Screen shot of the haunting statue of a Great Auk placed in Newfoundland.
 It is a powerful story, and it has a joyous reveal in Newfoundland. For some reason, the final scenes of Martha's Island just made me want to cry.

Maybe tears of sorrow for the lost birds, or tears of joy for a project to prevent these bird from becoming "extinct" from our memories.  Either way, like a good environmentalist, it inspires me to do more than cry into my Burning River beer.


  1. Love to hear stories of birds in unlikely urban areas. It gives me hope that perhaps we will eventually learn to coexist. :)

  2. Glad you got to see the Jaeger. A couple of points of information. The 1969 Cuyahoga river fire is the most famous and is credited as being the tipping point in the environmental movement and the impetus behind the Clean water act. Also the port of Cleveland is as busy as ever and you may have noticed the 1000 foot boat docked at the corner of Carter and Scranton. The port handles enhanced taconite, limestone and coke for steel production, and salt in bulk. Steel and other manufactured goods are also shipped out through the port The place where you saw the Jaeger is just a little over a mile from the most productive steel mill on the planet. ( Produces steel with less labor than any other) and it is 2nd highest in total steel output in the US. While you were watching the Jaeger Sunday, 2 Blast furnaces were in full operation and making steel. Back in the 1960's and 70's you would likely have been choking on the smog laden with ozone and fine particulates. It is a tribute to the clean water and air laws passed in 1973, and the steel industry that you were so close to these giant works and did not even know they were in operation.

  3. Haans made some excellent points. It is great to learn more about the big picture and the surrounding area.