Volunteers can help with Ohio Winter Bird Atlas


The Ohio Winter Bird Atlas, a work in progress, has some holes in it that willing birders can fill with their volunteer field observations during the month of January.

Anytime you are out birding [in January], just keep track of the species you see and the location, and submit it, summed Kim Kaufman, a spokesman for Oak Harbor-based Black Swamp Bird Observatory, which is helping to compile the atlas.

The idea behind the atlas is to describe the distribution of wintering birds in Ohio, to document bird use of special areas and habitats, and to provide an index of abundance to bird species using Ohio. BSBO is the lead organization in the project, begun in 2003 in cooperation with Aves.Net Productions through a grant from the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

Additional information and a 2007 field form is available on-line at www.bsbobird.org. In addition Julie Shieldcastle, BSBO executive director, is set to explain the atlas project at a luncheon program tomorrow at the BSBO nature center, 13229 West State Rt. 2, Oak Harbor.

The center is housed in the low gray building at the head of the entrance road to Magee Marsh State Wildlife Area. Lunch is at 12:30 p.m. with the program at 1 p.m.

Call for reservations, 419-898-4070. BSBO s Kaufman said that binoculars of course are helpful, as is a DeLorme Ohio Atlas and Gazetteer.

Serious birders might want to contribute two to four hours a week to the cause, though any donations of time and effort are welcome, she added.

Although help in any atlas-block is helpful, more than 200 statewide are all but untouched. Shieldcastle noted, for example, that five or six blocks in Lucas County all along the Ohio-Michigan line need surveying.

In related birding news, BSBO has assumed responsibility for the Fremont area Christmas Bird Count and it is set for Sunday. Area birders interested in joining the count can meet at Rudy s Restaurant, 600 East State St., Fremont, at 7 a.m. for assignments. A post-count gathering is set for 5 to 7 p.m. at Pickerel Creek lodge.

Call Paul Sherwood, count compiler, for details or sign-up, 419-202-6080, or BSBO, 419-898-4070.

Another important count, that of the Toledo area, also is set for Sunday. Late sign-ups can be arranged with Matt Anderson, compiler, at 419-877-9202.

Meet at 6:30 a.m. at Denny s Restaurant, I-75 and Buck Road. Or call the Toledo Naturalists Association hot-line, 419-877-9640.

An added weekend of gun-deer hunting in Ohio opens statewide tomorrow and closes at sunset Sunday.

Hunters checked 11,632 deer during the week-long gun-deer season Nov. 27 through Dec. 3.

Bowhunting also continues uninterrupted through Feb. 4, and even archery hunters must wear hunter orange outerwear this weekend.

A statewide muzzleloading rifle season is set for Dec. 27 through 30. For details consult the digest of Ohio hunting regulations, available free wherever licenses are sold, or visit on-line at www.ohiodnr.com/wildlife, or call 1-800-WILDLIFE.

The Wood-Lucas Chapter of Pheasants Forever has canceled its meeting set for Thursday because of the holidays. Regular meetings will resume Jan. 18, 7:30 p.m., at Wood County Park District headquarters, 18729 Mercer Road, Bowling Green.

The 2007 winter trap and skeet shooting leagues get under way informally next week at Toledo Trap and Skeet, 3150 North Berkey Southern Rd., Berkey, with two shoot-ahead events.

The Tuesday Classic event includes a round of trap and a round of skeet and officially begins Jan. 2, through March 20, with shoot-ahead day on Tuesday.

Wednesday Trap includes a round at 16 yards and a round at 20 yards, beginning Jan. 3 , through March 21, with shoot-ahead on Wednesday. For other details call the club, 419-829-5101.