For this trip, the OYBC Central Ohio Chapter visited a grassland in the Tri-Valley Wildlife Area that has a rare bird living in it– the Henslow’s Sparrow. The Henslow’s Sparrow is rare in Ohio because it only nests on the ground in certain grasslands. These grasslands cannot have large bushes or trees. At the same time, there must be enough cover for the Henslow’s Sparrow to nest and forage. The grassland that the OYBC visited has Henslow’s because it is carefully maintained to fit their needs. This grassland actually started out as a strip mine, where people harvested coal and other minerals from the ground. Years later, when the strip mine was reclaimed, the quarry eventually became open grassland.
When we visited, our guides — ODNR grassland biologist Ken Duren and Tri-Valley’s Andy Hershner — told us how they monitored the Henslow’s and other grassland birds’ populations in the area using an auditory survey. An auditory survey, called a Point Count, happens when a group listens for bird calls to record them and the area the sound came from. The group got to try it and split up into groups to listen for birds. We also took a hike through a tough path in the grasslands. We saw some Henslow’s Sparrows there, as well as an Indigo Bunting and 31 other species. All in all, it was a great trip!
Bella Little is a student member of the Central Ohio Chapter of the Ohio Young Birders Club. The following list of species seen was compiled by Aaron Tayal, also a student member of the Central Ohio Chapter. Check out the photo album from the trip here.