The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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It's another milestone for Tom Kashmer, Research Coordinator of Sandusky County Park District.

In 2010, Kashmer banded his 100,000th bird, a feat accomplished by very few individuals around the country.

Kashmer has now reached a unique place in history when an Indigo Bunting crossed his path on September 28, 2013 at Creek Bend Farm in Lindsey,. The bird was a “recap”, meaning it had already been captured, recorded, banded and released. What makes this unique is that it was previously banded in 2001. It was estimated to have hatched in 2000.

Ironically, the Indigo Bunting was originally banded just down the road (as the buntings fly) on May 23, 2001 by Mark Shieldcastle in Ottawa County. The United States Geological Survey has officially certified the encounter as the oldest documented Indigo Bunting in the wild. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology currently lists the oldest known wild Indigo Bunting as 8 years, 3 months.

As Kashmer says, "This record flies way past that."

Indigo Buntings are four to five inch sparrow-sized songbirds commonly seen midsummer on the edges of woods and fields, along roads and streams. Males appear a brilliant, jewel-like blue.

Kashmer says, "Since the birds migrate south each winter, to an area in southern Mexico or northern South America, we're estimating that this Indigo Bunting has traveled approximately 65,000 miles in its lifetime…so far."

That's an accomplishment for both man and bird.

Best birding locations

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife and Ohio Sea Grant at Ohio State University have released the Lake Erie Birding Trail Guidebook, a 232-page compilation of 88 popular and less well-known birding locations all along Ohio’s Lake Erie coast, from Ashtabula to Toledo. In addition to locations of parks and other birding spots, the book lists commonly sighted species and noteworthy rarities, park amenities, and online resources for visitors.

“Lake Erie and its environs are the premier birding destination in Ohio, and in the entire Great Lakes region,” says Jim McCormac of ODNR. “Nearly 400 species have been found along the Ohio shoreline, and migration periods see enormous numbers of songbirds and waterbirds. Many Lake Erie birders are from out-of-state or elsewhere in Ohio, and the Lake Erie Birding Trail helps visitors navigate the best hotspots.”

Birding along the Lake Erie coast contributes $30 million to the local economy every year, and Ohio’s 1.6 million self-identified birders alone spend over three quarters of a billion dollars annually on their pursuits. The Lake Erie Birding Trail Guidebook not only makes it easier for them to spot both common and rare birds when visiting parks and preserves in northern Ohio, but it also gives birders the opportunity to point out their economic contribution to local businesses with a set of “birder calling cards” that link owners to more information.

“Every visitor to Lake Erie will consider this book an incredible resource and a must-have for their libraries,” says Jeff Reutter, director of Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Lab. “We were very pleased to partner with ODNR Division of Wildlife, with funding from Wildlife, the Ohio Department of Transportation, and Ohio Sea Grant, to develop this guide.”

The book itself is a companion piece to the ODNR Division of Wildlife and Ohio Sea Grant website lakeerieohiobirding.info, which showcases birding sites across the Ohio Lake Erie coastline to residents and visitors alike.

“Connecting birders to birding and other tourism amenities in local Ohio communities will not only help attract more visitors to Ohio, but will also help us provide exceptional experiences to our guests,” says Melinda Huntley, executive director of the Ohio Travel Association.

The guide is available online through Ohio Sea Grant for $13 per book and wholesale at $175 per case of 14, plus shipping and handling costs. To order, visit ohioseagrant.osu.edu/publications or contact the Ohio Sea Grant office at 614-292-8971 with questions.

More information about birding in northern Ohio and a list of recent sightings is available at lakeerieohiobirding.info.

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