About this Website

11 posts

About Restricted Access

As a general rule, eBird hotspots are located at places with public access and birders are welcome to enter the location to view birds. There are, however, some exceptions.

There are a few locations, some of which have ongoing research projects, where access is restricted to those who have permission to enter the site. These hotspots have (restricted access) added at the end of the hotspot name.

There are roads in Ohio that traverse privately owned lands which are agricultural fields, grasslands, wetlands, or forests. We have added (view birds from the roadside only) to the hotspot name of some, but not all, of these locations. When viewing birds from a public roadside, do not enter any privately owned land without first seeking permission. In addition, some public lands are designated as wildlife refuges and access is restricted.

In Ohio, there are no entry fees at many city, township, county, state, and national locations. There are some exceptions where there is a fee to enter a park. We have not added this information in the name of the hotspot. When we know this to be the case, entry fees are listed in the description of the location in this website.

Many birders annually purchase an Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp and a federal Duck Stamp, both of which provide significant funding for the development and preservation of lands where we go to see birds.

About eBird Species Maps

If you are looking for information about where a particular bird has been seen in Ohio, the eBird species map is a great source of information.

There are three pieces of information to enter on the bar across the top of the map. On the left, enter the species for which you are seeking locations. On the right, enter the location. You can choose the whole state, a county, or even a specific address. The map will zoom to your selection. In the middle, you can adjust the date range. Select “Current Year” to narrow the data to more recent sightings. If you are at the beginning of the year you might want to select a range of last year and this year.

In the right column, select “Show points sooner” to display markers when zoomed out on the map.

Now, click on a marker to see checklists which have been submitted at a location. Red markers have checklists within the last 30 days, blue markers have older checklists. Larger markers are hotspots, smaller markers are personal locations.

Adjust the map to your own preferences.

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.

BirdFinder is a gadget written by Ed Norton, a Massachusetts birder. BirdFinder, displayed at the bottom of the website home page, provides information about the county where the bird was seen, which birder submitted the checklist, whether or not the sighting has been confirmed, and links to the checklist, Google map, and eBird species map.

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.

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.