About this Website

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About your eBird Life Lists

There are links throughout this website which make it easy for your to access information from your eBird account about birds you have reported. Of course, you need to be logged in to your eBird account in the browser you are using.

Want to see your life list of birds for Ohio, or a county, or a hotspot?
There are links on each page to take you directly to your data on the eBird website.

Your Ohio Lists

Your County Lists

Your Life List at any eBird hotspot

About Notable Bird Sightings

What happened to the BirdTrax display of rare bird sightings?
If you were a fan of the BirdTrax display of notable bird sightings, you may be wondering what happened to it. eBird updated the application program interface (API) which meant the code for BirdTrax no longer works. The developer of BirdTrax did not have the time to continue development and support of the gadget. Instead, check these links.


Ohio Notable Bird Sightings
Thanks to Ken Andrews, an Ohio birder, who wrote the code for this display which you can view at the bottom of the home page of the Ohio eBird Hotspot website. There are two additional tabs on this display you may want to explore: Recent Sightings by County and Recent Checklists by County.

WhereDaBirds
WhereDaBirds is a similar display written by Ed Norton, a Massachusetts birder. I am unable to display WhereDaBirds within the website, so the link opens in a new tab or window. Some birders may prefer this display because it provides links to individual checklists which birders have submitted.

About Getting Directions to a Hotspot

You can use this website to interact with the eBird website and Google maps to get directions to an eBird hotspot. This tip will work on a desktop computer or your smartphone. On a smartphone you must have the Google maps app installed.

Suppose that you want driving directions to the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve (birders sometimes call this “Dike 14”).

First, find the page about this hotspot in this website. (Click on the link above. Or you can find a link to it on the Cuyahoga County page or by using the Alphabetical Index.) When you are on the page about the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve, click on “View details” in the eBird links. This will open a page in the eBird website about the hotspot.

Just below the name of the hotspot, note that there is a link to “Get Directions”. Click on that link. It will open Google maps in a new window with an active marker for the hotspot.

On the Google maps page click on “Directions” to open the dialogue where you can add your location.

Be sure to check the final destination, as the eBird marker for the hotpot may be on a trail at the site rather than in the parking area. That is the case with this hotspot. You can adjust your drive accordingly.

About Google Maps on this website

Tips for using Google Maps


On most pages in this website there is an embedded Google Map showing the location of the hotspot. You can interact with most of these maps.
+ You can zoom in or out on the map to get a different view. Use the plus or minus links on the lower right of the map to zoom in or out. You can also use your mouse scroll wheel (desktop computer) or pinch with your fingers on a touch screen.
+ You can drag the map with your mouse or finger to move the map.
+ You can switch from satellite to map view by using the icon at the lower left of the map.
+ You can click on “View larger map” to open the map in a new window or tab. This will allow you to use all of the Google Map features, such as getting directions to the hotspot from your present location. If you are using your smartphone and have Google Maps app installed, this switches to the app. Very handy!

On some pages, where I wanted to add information, I have created an image of the map with the information included. You cannot zoom in or out. You can, however, click on the map to open the location in a new tab or window.

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.

Using this Website with a Smartphone

Moving the Ohio eBird Hotspot website to WordPress has greatly improved the display of information on the smaller screen of a smartphone. Here are some tips for using the website on a smartphone. If you have a tip to shared, I would be happy to add it to the list. Send it to me via the “Contact” link.

Need a Park Map?
For many park locations, including all the Ohio state parks and most county metro parks, there is a link to the park map near the top of the page. Click on the link and the park map will open on your smartphone. This is often helpful when you are out birding and need to check a trail direction.

Need Directions to a Hotspot?
eBird uses Google Maps to display maps and information about hotspots. Click on “Hotspot map” in the eBird links below the hotspot. In the dialogue box for the hotspot, click on “Directions.” This opens Google Maps on your phone with the hotspot defined as your destination. This is just as fast as searching for the park on Google maps and has the advantage of navigating to the hotspot location within the park.

Chasing a Rare Bird?
The Notable Sightings widget on the front page of the website is always up to date with rare bird sightings which have been reported to eBird. There is about an 1 hour delay between when a checklist is submitted and the data is released to eBird output. Many times, checking the Notable Sightings display is the quickest way to get updates on when a bird has been seen.

Also check Where Da Birds for a different display of the rare bird sightings in Ohio. I am unable to display this website on the page in the website, so you must click on the link provided to view the information.

Want a list of birds you have seen at a hotspot?
For every hotspot click on “Location life list” to get a list of all the bird species you have reported at the hotspot. In order for this to work, you must be logged in to your eBird account.

Send your tip for using this website on a smartphone to Ken Ostermiller

About Ohio Birding Drives

Funk Bottoms Wildlife Area

Ohio Birding Drives are routes for birding trips which can be accomplished in one day, stopping to walk and bird at various eBird hotspots. For each Birding Drive, a Google map is provided with the route and suggested stops at eBird hotspots. You may save the link to the Google map on your smartphone or tablet, or print a copy on paper to take with you. Links are provided for each eBird hotspot. Follow those links for information about birding each location.

Birders like to bird close to home and, naturally, the counties with higher populations in Ohio have many more checklists submitted. We have developed Birding Drives for “lightly birded” Ohio counties so that when your travels take you to a different part of the state you might add to the data about birds all across the state.

There is at least one birding drive in each Ohio county and in many counties there is more than one.

Visit Ohio Birding Drives for a list of all the birding drives in each county.

How Birding In Ohio Website is Organized

This website provides information about over 3000 eBird “hotspots” in Ohio. These hotspots are locations to which birders may submit checklists of birds seen.

The hotspots are organized by county.
When you know the county in which a hotspot is located, you can click on a county name, either in the list of counties or on the clickable map, to see all the hotspots in that county.

On each county page, there is a list of all the hotspots in the county, the “top” (up to 10) hotspots which have over 100 bird species reported, and links to birding drives and the Audubon Important Bird Areas in the county.

Finding a hotspot when you do not know the county.
When you don’t know the county where a hotspot is located, you have three ways to find it.

+ Look on the home page for the list of the 35 hotspots in Ohio with the most birds reported. Scroll down on the page to that list to see if the hotspot you want is on the list.

+ Search for a hotspot by using the search icon in the upper right corner of the home page. The icon opens a new page where you can type all or part of a hotspot name and touch enter. You will see a list of all the pages on the website that have information about the hotspot in which you are interested.

+ Click on “Index” in the main menu on the topbar to go to the list of all the hotspot pages in alphabetical order. Use the A-Z index links or your web browser search function to search through the alphabetical list.

Getting information from eBird.
On the home page, use the links that take you to the eBird website.

The links in the Bar Chart table open lists of all the birds reported in Ohio for the whole year, month, or season of your interest.

The link to recent sightings takes you down on the home page to the BirdTrax gadget that shows rare bird sightings reported in Ohio in the last week.

The links exploring Ohio in eBird opens an overview of birds recently reported in the state, a list of all the counties, the top hotspots, and a summary of recent checklists submitted.

Top 100 birders
If you are interested in the top 100 birders in Ohio, select the link for all time or the current year to see the top birders in the state.

Your Ohio life, year, and month lists
There are links from which you can retrieve your Ohio life list, current year list, and current month list. You must be logged in to your eBird account for this to work.