Tours & workshops in Ohio & the Great Lakes
“We bird because we love it; it’s a sheer passion & lifestyle”
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Specialty Birding Trips
Throughout the year, we offer specialty birding trips throughout Northern Ohio. These pro-birder-guided trips are half-day (5 hours) or full day (7 to 9 hours) and focus on the most current hotspot areas. Tours are seasonally dependent in location, and are focused on enhancing individuals’ birding skills. Attention is paid towards interpreting and describing all aspects of identifying birds, from plumage to song and calls, to behavior, giss (overall impression), habitat choice and more. We want you to excel in your understanding of the grand diversity of species that surround us, which means continuous narrative on natural history, and depth in description of every attribute of each species. We very actively bird. Meaning, we get you out into the field and intuitively and excitedly seek out the birdlife of each habitat. If they’re there, we’ll get them. And give you point-blank looks…
(above: juvenile Least Sandpiper on an August 2010 shorebird tour)
Perhaps you’ve been to Bath Nature Preserve a dozen times, or daily you bird Sandy Ridge or Rocky River Reservation. Fantastic. Do you know how to pick out all of the resident bird species just by song? Or during fall migration, can you pick through a mixed warbler/vireo/flycatcher flock with ease? We all need more time in the field – as much as we can get – and more experience with even the most local breeders and seasonal migrants. Feel confident on your shorebird ID? How about spending a full day of scanning the skies for raptors (to get you ready for your Cape May experience) or learning to ID waterfowl, loons, and jaegers at a distance. Ready to tackle gull ID?
The base for strong birding skills.
We’re listers and chasers, but at our core we completely enjoy getting to grips with familiar and common species – that’s the base for strong birding skills. Songs, calls, plumage variations, silhouettes, giss – there’s so many aspects to learning birds that you can never bore of nor stop soaking in. Local Patch trips are laid back and full of natural history education. If a Common Green Darner or Giant Swallowtail flies by, we take notice. If a log needs turning to find a Redback Salamander, we turn it. Questions are never ridiculous and the company is never dull. We bird because we love it; it’s a sheer passion and lifestyle. There is so much to see and there IS always something you’ve never seen before.
We invite you to come out to some of our favorite local patches. Perhaps it’s to tick Iceland or Thayer’s Gulls – or Baird’s Sandpiper or Blue Grosbeak – on your life or state list – or to spend some time with a glorious male Prothonotary Warbler singing vivaciously over your head.
Either way, you’ll have total fun doing it.
COMMENTS FROM PARTICIPANTS:
“There are so many great places to bird watch locally and your workshops teach me how to do this on my own. I can practice developing my skills plus take friends and family because your work shops educate me on good birding locations and how to look for birds. Your workshops serve to grow the sport of birding (and helps increase support of our birds) in our local area. Each attendee of a work shop will likely share what you teach us with friends.” – Fred I.
“Thank you so much for sharing your gifts of wisdom, keen observation and infectious enthusiasm. Your abilities are awesome, all contained in the most fun, likable personality. I can’t tell you enough how much I have enjoyed your expeditions.” – Elza
“What a fantastic day and thanks so much for sending out the trip list so quickly. The Buff-breasted Sandpipers were just sweet. I really enjoyed the great looks at the Sora. I was never able to observe them as well as I did yesterday. This has been a truly phenomenal year for me thanks to your guidance. I just can’t thank you enough. I think I have seen and learned so much this year my head is still spinning.” – Irene (Local Patch shorebirding tour, August 28th, 2010).
“Thanks for a thoroughly enjoyable day. Enjoyed your enthusiasm and learned from your teaching – it’s a great combination. Looking forward to times in the field.” – Jan
“It’s fun being a fly on the wall to watch you work…people dig you and you make it so easy…” – Dan
…is a bird illustrator, an outdoor educator/artist for Cleveland Metroparks, birding tour guide with Tropical Birding, and Rep with Leica Sport Optics Prostaff. She eagerly combines her passions for extreme birding, field studies, outdoor education and detailed scientific illustration into a truly “wild” career. Birds have captured her soul since the minute age of two. Upon gaining reading skills, she digested every field guide to birds that she could lay hand on, and spent an insatiable amount of time in the field. She is a sickly-avid birder, having traveled from Egypt to Ecuador, Belize to Canada, and all throughout the states. Jen gets great kicks out of: gut-wrenching pelagic tours, extreme winter gulling, shorebirding, seabird lakewatches in high winds and hail on Lake Erie, the fury of fall passerine migration, spring and fall hawkwatching, nightbirding, rarity chasing, climbing canyons for endemics…and thensome. Jen recently finished an illustration of Audubon’s Orioles for the 2010 Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival, returned from a mind-blowingly successful tour she guided to Southeastern Arizona, and, in mid-August, chased and victoriously saw Arctic Tern and Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (both new state birds) within a 3 day period.
…has been birding since the age of nine, when he began publishing his own newsletter. As a teen, he won the American Birding Association’s Young Birder of the Year Contest, and a year later, received a scholarship to attend a Victor Emanuel Nature Tours camp in Washington. He worked on the Ohio Breeding Bird Atlas II project in summer ‘06, surveying key areas in northeast Ohio and has recently compiled reports and written for The Ohio Ornithological Society’s journal, The Ohio Cardinal, not to mention he currently runs the state’s rare bird alert. Gabe did a year-long quest to reach 300 species in Ohio in 2009, and triumphantly hit 303 with White-winged Dove. Gabe’s team totally dominated the NorthCoast Open Big Day competition in May 2009, no doubt because Jen believes Gabe can hear a pipit calling 3 miles away, and can pick out accipiters gliding through the stratosphere. Gabe’s innate ability to track down rare birds is almost unmatched in the region. His zest and fervor for finding and appreciating the wealth of birds that surround us in this diverse state is encouraging and addicting. Apart from Gabe’s sickly-brilliant birding skills and charming excitement, he is great fun to be along with in the field, as everyone can attest to.
Check out Gabe’s flickr photo account by clicking HERE. You’ll find fantastic photos of Ohio rarities, including a ridiculously stunning photo of Yellow Rail in Holmes County, present to past.
Custom & Private Tours
Looking for specific target birds for your life or state list?
Need the “white-winged” gulls for your life list?
Want to see as many warblers on a single day as possible?
Wanting to spend an entire day on the lake rarity hunting for jaegers, ducks, and more?
In town on business for a weekend and needing a local birding fix?
Have a small group of friends that want to hire a guide for the day?
We can set up a prearranged trip to fit your goal birds and birding style preferences. Private tour packages range from local day trips to more extensive weekend tours throughout the Great Lakes region. For more information, contact Jen at 330-701-6452.
General Tour Information
Registration: Trips fill up quickly, so please register as soon as possible.
Payment: Payment is due by the beginning of each trip.
Transportation: For the majority of our trips, we meet at designated start locations, and then follow one another in vehicles to any additional locations visited during the day. We encourage you to carpool if possible, and please remember to make a contribution to the driver for gas fees.
What to Bring: Remember to ALWAYS dress for the weather, wear/bring multiple layers and sturdy footwear. Binoculars are a must. Spotting scopes are highly recommended.
What is Provided: On the majority of our trips we provide water and some light snacks. Our personal spotting scopes accompany us on all trips – we do our utmost to put you on the scope for brilliant looks.