Thursday, September 15, 2011


The survey for the Ohio Breeding Bird Atlas officially ended for the summer on August 31 as the last "safe date" (dates which help distinguish between a species that breeds locally or one that is migrating north)for collecting data.  Last night I entered all my data for the 10-square mile radius in and around the town of Lynx and Prairie Pond Woods.  The survey for the year begins on January 1 with the Rock Pigeon and ends with the Great Horned Owl, which actually begins recordable breeding behavior in late December!  Some of the last birds to be seen in the summer tending nests or fledglings are the Northern Cardinal, Carolina Wren and American Goldfinch. 

It is such an honor and so much fun to be able to participate in this 5-year survey.  Data will be collected, reviewed and documented for all 4,437 atlas blocks in Ohio.  The purpose of the atlas is to access changes in breeding distribution, identify and protect important breeding locations and their habitats and collect further data on rare or endangered species.  The survey was last conducted in 1982 with the first atlas publication in 1987.  My block in Lynx had no "owner" back then (someone who commits to survey a block), so there was limited survey information and little for me to compare.  

So far, I've recorded a total of 80 possible, probable or confirmed species breeding in my block. I still have to get out after the Winter Solstice and call in some Horned Owls from the woods!  I'll let you know if I get 81!

Sunday, September 4, 2011


I came to pick up the vacation paper
And suddenly, I am on a safari.

Morning breezes usher out the haze,
Open stage for all winged creatures,
Black vulture and hummingbird,
Monarchs with Viceroy twin.
All around me, movement, like random, diving
leaves after an early autumn frost.

Lost among the Black-eyed Susans,
Pearl Crescents rise like a wave as the wind stirs.
A dragonfly charges me, defending new prey.
How odd to see the tables turned on a yellow jacket.
 There are few fragrances this late in summer,
just the heavy smell of heat rising.
Sounds of August music ebb and flow,
With background static of cicadas.

But there is no shortage of color-
Soaring, gliding,
             Fluttering, basking,
                            Launching and landing...
    ...I’d go deaf if I could hear their wings beat.

 Cindy Steffen - August 2009
All photos from Prairie Pond Woods