TOLEDO MAGAZINE

Birders spy 15 species in weekend count

1/20/2013
BY ROD LOCKWOOD
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Sarah Parker of Berkey looks at a downy woodpecker during the Christmas Count 4 Kids, an extension of the Audubon Christmas Bird Count, at Olander Park in Sylvania.
Sarah Parker of Berkey looks at a downy woodpecker during the Christmas Count 4 Kids, an extension of the Audubon Christmas Bird Count, at Olander Park in Sylvania.

Each year an endless number transients migrate through northwest Ohio, stopping off to rest, grab a bite to eat, and then carry on to sunnier climes.

The feathered tourists are wrens, juncos, robins, and dozens of other varieties of birds that use the area as a travel hub while making their way to the southern United States, Central America, and South America.

It’s a visual feast for birders, about 30 of whom were outside last weekend teaching children the finer points of bird counting. The event — the Christmas Count 4 Kids — is an offshoot of the official Christmas Bird Count where the National Audubon collects data from across the country on bird populations and their distribution.

And it’s fun, said Patty Toneff, associate director of Woodlawn Cemetery and Arboretum and an avid birder. Last weekend’s informal count revealed 15 species of birds at Woodlawn and Olander Park in Sylvania.

PHOTO GALLERY: Bird watching at Olander Park

“The appeal of it is just the excitement of looking at birds as wildlife and seeing them in certain areas,” she said. “It’s kind of a connection to the rest of America, South America, Central America, and the world as they migrate through here.”

Kate Zimmerman and Grace Korte, 5, work together to identify a bird.
Kate Zimmerman and Grace Korte, 5, work together to identify a bird.

Among the species identified at the event were screech owl, Carolina wren, red-bellied woodpecker, dark-eyed junco, pine-billed grebe, red-tailed hawk, white-throated sparrow, ruddy duck, mallards, grebes, cardinals, robins, and downy woodpecker.

Mrs. Toneff said the identifications will be loaded on a Web site and will eventually supplement the Audubon Society’s count, which has yielded an average of about 105 different species the past three years.

The key point of the event was aimed at spreading the word that birding is a great way to get outside and experience the natural world, no matter your age, she said.

“It’s just taking time to slow down and notice the different birds that are around here.”

Woodlawn at 1502 W. Central Ave., is a busy location for birds because it is on a major migratory path, Mrs. Toneff said. A group gathers there every Friday from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. to observe and record birds that are seen. Newcomers are welcome.

Contact Rod Lockwood at: rlockwood@theblade.com or 419-724-6159.