A Visit to Ohio Bird Sanctuary

July 12, 2011 by  
Filed under Features

Gail Laux started the County Raptor Rehabilitation Center in 1988 on her private property. In 1995 the Heart of Ohio Boy Scout Council approved a lease to allow the facility to move to the Camp Avery Hand site. Through generous donations and support, the Ohio Bird Sanctuary was able to open its doors to the public in 1999. The sanctuary was eventually able to purchase fifty-two acres of land it had leased, and went on to buy another fifteen acres in 2009. To become a public facility the sanctuary created a board of trustees. Through the assistance of volunteers, events were organized to raise funds to renovate buildings, create a parking area and make trails for visitors to enjoy.

The visitors centre now proudly boasts a classroom, exhibition lobby, outdoor display facilities, offices, library and an emergency centre that takes in injured and sick birds. This non-profit organization is dedicated to the rehabilitation and protection of the birds of prey of Ohio. Ninety acres of the sanctuary is open to the public, with hiking trails leading to various breathtaking areas of the sanctuary where visitors will be able to view various birds of prey. A few of the local bird residents are visitor friendly and gladly accept the meal worms that are on sale at the sanctuary, allowing members of the public to have a personal and interactive experience with these fascinating birds. Tours are available, as educating the public on the value and importance of preserving birds of prey is the main goal of the Ohio Bird Sanctuary. It also welcomes more than twenty thousand scholars a year, and bird lovers are invited to join the weekend programs that feature workshops such as Breeding Birds Surveys, Creatures of the Night, Fall Wildlife Festival and Christmas for the Birds.

Because of the sanctuary being located on the Clearfork Reservoir border and being surrounded by marsh and dense forests, the trails leading through the sanctuary are breathtaking and will take visitors over meadows, marshlands and between beautiful pine groves. The butterfly garden is another recommended attraction that is filled with wonderful variety wildflowers and is a tranquil location at the sanctuary. The Ohio Bird Sanctuary is not only performing a vital role in protecting the birds of prey of Ohio but is an exciting attraction for visitors to enjoy.

W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary

March 8, 2011 by  
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Cared for by the Michigan State University, the W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary was established by, and named after, a man who is more likely to be associated with breakfast by millions of people in the western world. It was in June 1927 that cereal manufacturer W.K. Kellogg bought the land around the spectacular Wintergreen Lake in Augusta, Michigan, with the intention of creating a sanctuary to preserve indigenous wildlife and breed game birds. The following year the sanctuary was handed over to the Michigan State College of Agriculture for use as a training facility for students studying animal care and land management as a career. The sanctuary was later opened to the public, and today is a popular venue for an enjoyable and educational family outing surrounded by the beauty and tranquility of nature.

Group tours are available all year round, with the different seasons offering insight into different aspects of nature. In spring the focus is on nesting, while in summer visitors are likely to see plenty of nestlings and their tireless, vigilant parents. Autumn brings the spectacle of migration, with winter highlighting the hardiness of birds that are adapted to deal with cold weather conditions. Tours are led by well-trained volunteer workers and should be booked at least four weeks in advance to ensure that a guide will be available to greet you. Should you prefer to make your own way around the sanctuary, this can be done between the hours of 09h00 and 17h00 from November to April, and 09h00 to 19h00 from May to October (subject to change). Trail guides are obtainable from the Resource Center at the sanctuary, or can be downloaded from the W.K. Kellogg Sanctuary website so you can plan your route when you plan your outing.

Special events hosted by the W.K. Kellogg Sanctuary, also referred to as KBS – Kellogg Biological Station – include fascinating topics such as the Owl Prowl; Birds and Beans; and Decoy Carving Workshops. There are also volunteer training sessions and group instruction on how to participate in the annual Great Backyard Bird Count.

The Wintergreen Lake covers an area of 40 acres and forms part of the sanctuary that covers an additional area of 180 acres, with close to a mile long trail winding through various habitats where waterfowl, birds of prey and upland game birds can be spotted. The large picnic area ensures that there is always place for visitors to relax and enjoy the surroundings at leisure and the Resource Center includes a gift shop with fascinating bird-related items and books for sale. There is no doubt that a visit to the W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary will be time well spent.

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary

September 14, 2010 by  
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Hawk Mountain Sanctuary has been in operation for more than 75 years and is actively involved in raptor conservation, public education and scientific research. This important refuge for birds of prey features an impressive number of falcons, eagles and hawks, lookout points, 8 miles of trails, an informative Visitor Center, a native plant garden and a bookstore. Visitors to the sanctuary can explore the trails by themselves or attend special weekend programs to learn more about raptors.

Situated in east-central Pennsylvania, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary covers an area of 2 600 acres. Add to this the 13 000 acres of public and private lands and the birds of prey are provided with a vast protected tract of contiguous forest. The varied topography of Hawk Mountain offers flora and fauna a variety of habitats. The main tree species growing there include Red Maple, hickory, birches, five oak species and Black Gum. Older sections of forest are the perfect haven for Pileated Woodpeckers and Winter Wrens.

Keen birders will certainly find Hawk Mountain Sanctuary a fantastic destination. Some 265 bird species have been documented in the area since 1934, with over 65 species regularly nesting there. The area serves as an important stopover habitat for some 100 migratory bird species, of which 16 are raptor species. Amongst the migrant birds nesting at Hawk Mountain are Wood Thrushes, Ovenbirds and Scarlet Tanagers. Broad-winged, Sharp-shinned, Red-tailed and Cooper’s hawks have been seen nesting in the sanctuary, as have Great Horned, Eastern Screech, Northern Saw-Whet and Barred owls.

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary does much to contribute towards raptor conservation. By means of their Conservation Science Program they seek to gain further insight into raptor migration, raptor population statuses, and how raptors live in the ecosystems where they reside. The Acopian Center for Conservation Learning was opened at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in 2002 and serves as a biological field station, as well as a training facility. Scientists, conservationists and the sanctuary’s personnel can work together here, making use of the GIS map lab, the world’s largest library of raptor literature, the archival storage room, a teaching lab, conference area and office spaces. Members of the public may only access the center on special occasions or by appointment.

Those who decide to visit Hawk Mountain Sanctuary are advised to start off at the Visitor Center. The Visitor Center has a number of interesting exhibits, including stunning carved replicas of Hawk Mountain’s most regular raptor visitors. As you browse through the displays you will learn about raptors, conservation and migration. The best time to visit is between the months of September and November, as this is when the greatest numbers of falcons, hawks and eagles are passing through. The trails at Hawk Mountain are open throughout the year (with a few exceptions), and from dawn until dusk. There is a trail admission charge for non-members, and this fee goes towards the maintenance of the sanctuary and its conservation programs.

Bali Starling Thriving In Nusa Penida Sanctuary

November 24, 2008 by  
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The Bali Starling is Bali’s provincial emblem and is quite a pretty little thing. It is a white bird with a vivid blue mask, so it is rather easy to identify, even for inexperienced birders. Unfortunately it is not always so easy to spot – not because it is elusive, but rather because it is critically endangered in its natural habitat.

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EAD’s Bird Database Given a Boost

August 6, 2008 by  
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The Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi (EAD) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Emirates Bird Records Committee (EBRC) that will give the agency access to almost a quarter of a million reports of wild bird sightings in the United Arab Emirates. The reports date back to the late 1960s and will no doubt prove to be a massive boost to conservation efforts in the region.

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