The abundance of rails in Ohio’s fall wetlands is hard to verify, but it is not for lack of trying.  Birds in the family Rallidae include the regularly occurring Sora, Virginia and King Rails, and the more extroverted and easier to find Common Gallinule and American Coot. Yellow and Black Rails may be present but these tiny birds are incredibly secretive and rank high among the most difficult birds in North America to view. In addition to the possibility of rails, there will be lots of fall migrants around, and birders should rack up large lists during field forays.

Lakeside, Ohio will be the gathering grounds on October 1, 2016 for birdwatchers keen on rails and wanting to learn more about the area’s most productive wetlands.  Featured speakers will include experts from Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO), Winous Point Marsh Conservancy and Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge and Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Saturday evening the Ohio Ornithological Society will have their Annual Banquet. Our keynote speaker is an inspiring young woman, Auriel Fournier, a PhD Candidate with the Arkansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Arkansas. Auriel is no stranger to us; she grew up in North-west Ohio and was active in Ohio Young Birders at BSBO. She returns annually to lead field trips for Biggest Week in American Birding and collaborates with local wildlife biologists studying rails.  

Field trips to biological hot-spots for birding and bird conservation are available on Saturday and Sunday (Oct. 1-2). Featured locations on Saturday will be Meadowbrook Marsh, Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, and a premium trip (all funds to benefit Rail Conservation) offered to visit the King Rail study at Winous Point. Sunday trips will be hosted by numerous conservation agencies, including The Nature Conservancy, Black Swamp Bird Observatory, Ohio Wetlands Association, The Environmental Protection Agency and others to be announced.




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