About Rare Bird and Needs Alerts

Two types of alerts are available from eBird and there are links to each on the Ohio “home” page and on each county page in this website. But what is the difference and how do you use each?

Rare Bird Alert
eBird Rare Bird Alert for Ohio
The Rare Bird Alert shows observations of rare birds in the state or county. It includes both unreviewed and reviewed observations over the last 7 days. The report notifies you about any unusual bird that has been reported. It provides a link to the location and to the checklist so you can get more information about the sighting and make the critical call as to whether you want to try to see the bird. In addition to viewing the alert through this website, you have the option to subscribe to an hourly or daily email report of the rare birds.

The Rare Bird Alert works in conjunction with the regional eBird checklist filters. Every time a record is entered in eBird, the location and date of the sighting is run against a list of expected maximum counts for each species in the area. If the number of birds in the sighting exceeds those expected counts, you receive the eBird confirmation message (always a sign that you have found a good bird!), asking you to confirm your entry. These records are then confirmed by our volunteer expert reviewers. The checklist filters define what constitutes a “rare bird” in a region by highlighting any species (or subspecies) with the count limit set to zero, and those are the reports featured in the Rare Bird Alerts. These Alerts include not only out-of-range birds, but also unseasonal sightings.

The Rare Bird Alert does not compare the birds with your personal list, so it may show you birds that you have already seen.

Needs Alert (birds you have not seen in Ohio)
Never SeenNot Seen This Year
The Needs Alert is personalized, using the lists that you have in eBird. The alert lists species you have not personally recorded in the selected region. Once you report a species from that region in eBird, that species will no longer appear on this alert (even if it is a rare). This is designed to deliver information particularly tailored to birds that you have not seen (either all time, or within the current year). The alert builds a custom list of birds that you “need” for the region. The word “need” is used loosely here to mean a species that you have not seen in the county or state. Needs Alerts are powerful in that they show the species that you need for that region all-time or for this year alone. They cover species that wouldn’t trip the Rare Bird Alert.

Like the Rare Bird Alert, the report contains birds seen in the last 7 days and you can view the report from this website or subscribe to receive an hourly or daily email report.

In order to see the reports for either type of alert, you must be signed in to your eBird account.

Focus on Shawnee State Forest and Shawnee State Park

Shawnee State Forest, also called “The Little Smokies of Ohio,” has developed into the largest of the 20 state forests, with over 60,000 acres. While the Forest is a fantastic recreation feature in Southern Ohio, you should not be surprised to see other activities occurring. The Forest is a working forest. It is managed to provide a variety of multiple uses on a sustained yield basis. Birders should note that this state forest spans two counties. The eastern and largest portion of the state forest is in Scioto County. The western portion of the forest is in Adams County.

Located in the Appalachian foothills near the banks of the Ohio River, 1,095-acre Shawnee State Park is nestled in the 63,000-acre Shawnee State Forest. The Shawnee Lodge in the state park has been the host site for spring meetings of the Ohio Ornithological Society.

There are two birding drive routes through the state forest:
Shawnee State Forest OOS Birding Drive
Shawnee State Forest Panoram Birding Drive

The State Forest has been designated by the Audubon Society as an Important Bird Area.
Shawnee Important Bird Area

There are a number of eBird hotspots in both the State Forest and the State Park.

Scioto County

Shawnee State Park
Shawnee State Park–Campground
Shawnee State Park–Lookout Trail
Shawnee State Park–Marina
Shawnee State Park–Roosevelt Lake
Shawnee State Park–Turkey Creek Lake and Lodge

Shawnee State Forest
Shawnee State Forest (Scioto County)
Shawnee State Forest–Big Run Road
Shawnee State Forest–Forest Road 1, Panoram Loop
Shawnee State Forest–Forest Road 2
Shawnee State Forest–Forest Road 4, Panoram Loop
Shawnee State Forest–Forest Road 6, Panoram Loop
Shawnee State Forest–Forest Road 13
Shawnee State Forest–Nace Run Road
Shawnee State Forest–Odle Creek Road
Shawnee State Forest–Picnic Point
Shawnee State Forest–Pond Lick Road
Shawnee State Forest–Pond Run Road
Shawnee State Forest–Rocky Fork
Shawnee State Forest–Wolfden Lake

Adams County

Shawnee State Forest (Adams County)
Edge of Appalachia Preserve–Abner Hollow Road

What’s New–April 24, 2019

New Feature

Needs Alert (birds you have not seen in Ohio)
Never SeenNot Seen This Year
The Needs Alert is available on the Ohio home page in the left column under “Explore Ohio in eBird.”

The Needs Alert links are also available on each county page. You may find it most helpful to view the alert report for the county you are currently visiting.

You must be logged in to your eBird account for this to work. Please let me know how you like this feature.

See About Rare Bird and Needs Alerts for more information.

Focus on . . . blog

Focus on Shawnee State Forest and Shawnee State Park
Links to eBird hotspots, Audubon Important Bird Area page, and two Ohio Birding Drives in this area will be of interest for those attending the Ohio Ornithological Society meeting the weekend of April 26-28.

New eBird Hotspots

Forest Run MetroPark
Photo by Daniel Klar

Athens County

Cucumbertree Trail
Thanks to Trevor Zook for suggesting this hotspot.

Butler County

Forest Run Metropark–Timberman Ridge Area
Thanks to Daniel Klar for suggesting this additional hotspot in the Forest Run MetroPark and for providing photos for the page. This MetroPark has three areas which are geographically separate. There is no general hotspot for the whole MetroPark. The other hotspot in this park is Forest Run Metropark–Wildlife Preserve Area.

Mercer County

Grand Lake Saint Marys State Park–Anderson Road Picnic Area
Thanks to Josh King for suggesting this new hotspot and for providing tips for birding. The hotspot is a sub-location in Grand Lake Saint Marys State Park.

Stark County

Minerva Municipal Park
Thanks to Jon Cefus for suggesting this hotspot and providing photos and tips for birding at this park.

Carter Pedigo Trail

Summit County

Carter Pedigo Trail
Thanks to Ken Andrews for suggesting this hotspot, providing a photo of the trail map, and writing a description of the trail.

Kirtland’s Warbler Migration Blitz Hotspots Retired

Thanks to the many birders who submitted checklists in the Kirtland’s Warbler Migration Blitz research project. In Ohio, we had a little over 300 hotspots (KIWA-OH-survey) set up to accept checklists for the project. The research project is complete and a paper has been published with the results. The survey hotspots have been retired from eBird.
+ A little over half of the hotspots (160) had no checklists and have been deleted.
Survey hotspots with checklists
+ have been merged into an existing hotspot (112),
+ renamed to become a new hotspot (34), or
+ in just a few cases changed to a personal location shared by those who submitted checklists (6).

The new hotspots created from former KIWA-OH-survey locations are listed below. All the new hotspots are active in eBird and pages describing them have been added to the website.

Clinton County

Caesar Creek Lake Wildlife Area–New Burlington Road

Cuyahoga County

Euclid Creek Reservation–Glenridge Loop
Euclid Creek Reservation–Upper Highland Trail
Rocky River Reservation–Guerin Road
Rocky River Reservation–Valley Parkway Trail
Rocky River Reservation–Willow Bend Picnic Area

Delaware County

Alexander Road
Alum Creek State Park–Africa Road @ Plumb Road
Delaware State Park–Willey Road
Hoover Scenic Trail

Erie County

Resthaven Wildlife Area–Castalia Prairie

Fayette County

Christman Memorial Park

Geauga County

Ladue Public Hunting Area–Aquilla Road
South Newbury Cemetery

Highland County

Paint Creek Lake Wildlife Area–Burgess Road
Paint Creek Lake Wildlife Area–Centerfield Road
Paint Creek Lake Wildlife Area–Cope Road

Lake County

North Chagrin Reservation–Bridle Trail
North Chagrin Reservation–River Grove Chestnut Shelter

Logan County

Mary Rutan Park

Lorain County

French Creek Reservation–Pine Tree Picnic Area Entrance

Lucas County

Manore Road
Oak Openings–Jeffers Road
Oak Openings–Reed Road
Oak Openings–Waterville Swanton Road
Oak Openings–White Oak Campground
Towpath Park

Marion County

Gearhiser Road

Pickaway County

Deer Creek State Park–Beach Picnic Area

Richland County

Malabar Farm Restaurant

Ross County

Paint Creek State Park (Ross County)

Summit County

Brandywine Ski Resort
Trumbull Woods Park

Wyandot County

Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area–Marseilles Township Road 103Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area–Township Road 103

What’s New–April 20, 2019

Notable Bird Sightings

Birders who appreciated the BirdTrax display of notable sightings, there are two replacements in development.
Ohio Notable Bird Sightings developed by Ohio birder, Ken Andrews, displays on the bottom of the Birding in Ohio home page.
WhereDaBirds, which we are unable to display on a WordPress page right now, has more links similar to BirdTrax. There is a link to this website, also on the home page. WhereDaBirds is being developed by Ed Norton, a birder in New England.

New eBird Hotspots

Delaware County

Ruffner Park
Thanks to Jacob Abel for suggesting this hotspot on the Big Walnut Creek in the Big Walnut Important Bird Area.

Hamilton County

Bender Mountain Nature Preserve
Thanks to Ellie Hahn for suggesting this hotspot.

Montgomery County

Air Force Museum Memorial Park
Thanks to Daniel Brockman for suggesting this hotspot in the Memorial Park adjacent to the National Museum of the Air Force.

Portage County

Johnson Road, Kent
Thanks to Doug Bryant for suggesting this hotspot.

Wayne County

Christmas Run Park
Thanks to Nathaniel Sheerer for suggesting a hotspot at this park in Wooster.


Delaware County

Gallant Farm
Gallant Woods Park
The names of these two parks has been adjusted as the Delaware County Preservation Parks no longer uses the word “preserve” in the park names. The official names are Gallant Farm and Gallant Woods Park.

Lake County

Lake Erie Bluffs Metropark
Lake Erie Bluffs Metropark–Clark Road
Lake Erie Bluffs Metropark–Lane Road
Added photos to all three pages.

What’s New–April 13, 2019

New eBird Hotspots

Columbiana County

Little Beaver Creek Greenway Trail–Leetonia Trailhead
Thanks to Chris Lamb for suggesting this additional hotspot on the Little Beaver Creek Greenway Trail

Delaware County

Alum Creek State Park–Old Berlin Station Road
Thanks to Steve Landes for suggesting this additional hotspot in Alum Creek State Park
Hoover Reservoir–Area D
Thanks to Steve Landes for suggesting this additional hotspot on the Hoover Reservoir

Mahoning County

Mill Creek Park–East Channel and Islands Trail
Thanks to Barbara James for suggesting this additional hotspot in the Mill Creek Park


Summit County

Richfield Heritage Preserve
Ken Andrews has updated the Guide to the Richfield Heritage Preserve with some new tips for birding.

Clay Plant Road
Photo by Su Snyder

Wayne County

Clay Plant Road
Thanks to Su Snyder for providing photos.