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Bird numbers go down

December 28, 2007
The Advertiser-Tribune
Counters found only 6,417 total birds and 56 different species during this year’s Christmas Bird Count Dec. 15, compared to numbers usually closer to 10,000 individual birds.

Organizer Jim Coffman attributed the reduced numbers to two things.

One reason was an impending snowstorm.

“Birds can sense that and they might have been looking for places to hunker down a little bit,” Jim said.

The second reason was a conflict with deer-gun season, which gives the counters fewer places to find birds.

“Deer-hunting season has an impact on us because we’re not going into the woods like we used to,” Coffman said. Counters drove around blocks near wooded areas where they normally count birds. If there were vehicles parked — which meant there were hunters in the woods — they avoided those areas.

The conflict began last year when the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife opened an extra weekend of deer-gun season — and they scheduled it during one of the busiest CBC weekends.

The count — which is more than 100 years old — is sponsored nationally by the Audubon Society.

Among the notable findings during this year’s count was a snow goose.

“That’s a little bit different than what we’re usually getting,” Coffman said.

A couple of cackling geese also were found and a redpoll.

“That’s not one we usually get on the count,” he said.

He said there were an estimated 100 lapland larkspurs seen all in one place, which is an unusually large number.

There also were unusually large numbers of cowbirds and starlings.

He also noted nine redbreasted nuthatches were seen.

“You get to see them, but they’re not the most numerous,” he said.

A hermit thrush and a mockingbird were also interesting finds this year.

Missing were the normal number of wild turkeys. Only seven were seen.

“Normally we get a lot of turkeys, but we didn’t see as many this year — probably because we didn’t go into the woods because of the deer hunters,” Coffman said.

And there were only 20 bluebirds found this year.

“We had up to 100, I think, in the past,” he said.

The number of bald eagles was about average at eight adults and two juveniles.

Coffman said the number of participants was down this year, too — partially because some parents wouldn’t allow their children to participate because of deer hunters. This year’s counters were John Millar, Paul Fleming, Bob Gucker, Marg Slay, David Foder, Paul Rily, Randy Halen, Joan Harding, Jo Meyer, Tom Bartlett, Chris Munsour, Raymond Stearns, Dan Webb, Dave Dariano, Steve Lauer, Andrew Lauer, Kim Howard, Pete Klopp and Mike Wheatley.

Heidelberg grant

Heidelberg’s College’s National Center for Water Quality Research has received one of three grants from the Ohio Lake Erie Commission.

n please see BIRD, 10A


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The $15,000 is set aside to research the effect of cyanobacterial blooms on mayfly larvae in Lake Erie. That type of bacteria has been linked to human and animal illnesses. Blooms occur when algae normally present grow exuberantly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In addition, Ohio State University’s Center for Farmland Policy Innovation received $14,906 to create models to allow communities in the watershed to work together to link land use and local economic planning.

The Lake Erie Commission’s job is to preserve the lake’s natural resources, enhance its water quality and promote economic development in the region.

Park programs

A “Nature Walk Bird Talk” is planned for 8 a.m. Jan. 5 at Seneca County Park District’s Garlo Heritage Nature Preserve. The walk is for all ages and no registration is required. Take along field guides and binoculars if you have them.

Other walks through winter and into spring are scheduled for 8 a.m. Feb. 3, March 8, April 6 and May 10.

Later in the morning Jan. 5, the park district invites young adventurers ages 6-12 to find out “Who’s Awake” during an 11 a.m. program at Forrest Nature Preserve.

Toddlers ages 12-36 months with an accompanying adult are invited to learn about bunnies 6:30 p.m. Jan. 7 at Garlo.

For more information on bird walks or to register for other Seneca County PD programs, call Linda Rose at (419) 435-3915 or e-mail

Maple syrup workshop

It isn’t close by, but some people might be interested in attending this year’s Maple Days workshop in mid-January.

Offered on three dates in three different locations — Jan. 17 in Morrow County, Jan. 18 for Wayne and Holmes counties, and Jan. 19 in Lake County — the program features presentations on hot topics in maple production.

“The demand is very high for syrup right now,” said Gary Graham, natural resources specialist with Ohio State University Extension Center at Wooster and one of the workshop speakers. “Prices are going to be bouncing way up. If you’ve ever thought about expanding, now’s the time to do it.”

Keynote speaker Tim Perkins, director of the University of Vermont’s Proctor Maple Research Center, plans to present “Maximizing Syrup Yields: Tips and Tricks,” a look at new sap-collection technology and how it can increase efficiency.

Randy Heiligmann, state forestry specialist with OSU Extension and a forestry researcher with Ohio State’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, plans to talk about sugarbush management.

Graham plans to give an update on the industry and there is a trade show.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Cost is $30 per person, which includes lunch. Registration is due Jan. 4. For more information, e-mail or call (330) 263-3799.

Bedrock maps

No, they don’t have anything to do with Fred Flintstone, but new digital maps are available to complement paper geologic maps of Ohio bedrock.

Geologists, educators, land-use planners and other people interested in earth science can have a digital version of the Bedrock Geologic Map of Ohio, which was released by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in paper form last year. This is the first time the map has been available to the public on CD-ROM.

Prior to last year, the most recent version of the bedrock map was published in 1920. The current version depicts nearly 50 bedrock units (as opposed to 14 units shown on the 1920 map).

Users now can overlay numerous geographic information system layers, such as bedrock formation contacts and faults, over their own unique digital map datasets. This enables users to analyze where and how the rock formations and cultural features shown might affect current and future land-use practices. For example, individuals exploring oil and gas deposits could place the fault GIS layer over their own maps to identify where oil and gas might be gathering.

The CD-ROM costs $25 (plus sales tax and $6.50 in shipping). A wall-size paper version is $15, plus sales tax and shipping, from the ODNR Geologic Records Center by calling (614) 265-6576 or e-mailing A generalized, free page-size version is available through the Publications, Maps and Data page of the ODNR Division of Geological Survey’s Web site.

This week’s meetings and reminders:

* Through Sunday, muzzleloader deer season continues.

* Jan. 2, 3 p.m., Seneca County Park District board reorganizational meeting, RTA Building.

* Jan. 2, 7 p.m. Seneca Muzzleloaders meeting, Sandusky River Coon Hunters lodge.

Fact Box

By the numbers
The entire list includes:
Great blue heron 3
Canada goose 588
Snow goose 1
Cackling goose 2
Mallard 120
Bald eagle adult 8
Bald eagle juvenile 2
Northern harrier 5
Sharp-shinned hawk 4
Cooper’s hawk 5
Red-tailed hawk 46
American kestrel 33
Wild turkey 7
Rock pigeon 114
Mourning dove 265
Eastern screech-owl 12
Great horned owl 6
Barred owl 2
Red-bellied woodpecker 32
Downy woodpecker 53
Hairy woodpecker 10
Northern flicker 22
Pileated woodpecker 2
Blue jay 71
American crow 509
Horned lark 385
Carolina chickadee 2
Black-capped chickadee 45
Tufted titmouse 36
Red-breasted nuthatch 9
White-breasted nuthatch 56
Carolina wren 10
Winter wren 1
Eastern bluebird 20
Hermit thrush 1
American robin 5
Northern mockingbird 1
European starling 1,760
Cedar waxwing 27
Yellow-rumped warbler 1
American tree sparrow 219
Field sparrow 14
Song sparrow 15
Swamp sparrow 1
White-throated sparrow 1
Dark-eyed junco 301
Lapland longspur 100
Snow bunting 6
Red-winged blackbird 49
Common grackle 73
Brown-headed cowbird 154
Northern cardinal 212
House finch 83
Common redpoll 2
American goldfinch 156
House sparrow 665
Unknown sparrow 10
Unknown duck 75
Total 6,417



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