Birders flock to this region of Northeast Ohio because it’s simply one of the best places to bird. More than 250 species have been recorded around Mentor Marsh. Great numbers of waterfowl also stop at the Marsh; during seasonal migrations you’re sure to see Blue-winged Teal, American Wigeon, Gadwall, American Black Duck, Northern Shoveler and Hooded Merganser. Add in the wooded areas of the State Nature Preserve, the Mentor Lagoons Nature Preserve and the open waters of Lake Erie and you have a year-round birding experience. No wonder the area has been identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA).
The area surrounding the Marsh is part of the Grand River-Lower Watershed Important Bird Area which also includes Big Creek Park, the former Diamond Shamrock Property, Girdled Road Reservation, Grand River Terraces, Grand River Watershed, Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve, Hell Hollow Wilderness Area, Mentor Marsh Area Regional Ecosystem and the R.W. Sidley Property (adjacent to the Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve).
Other Birding Links
Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve
Mentor Marsh, one of the largest natural marshes remaining along the Lake Erie shoreline, became Ohio’s first state nature preserve in 1971. It is an interpretive nature preserve of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History (CMNH) and the State of Ohio (ODNR) Division of Natural Areas and Preserves. Trails are open daily, year-round, dawn to dusk. Family nature programs and guided hikes are offered at no charge, although reservations are requested. Call (440) 257-0777 or send an email to email@example.com.
Blackbrook Audubon Society
Promotes conservation and restoration of ecosystems with emphasis on birds and habitat. Check out their website for information on year-round bird walks in the Marsh area.
Lake Erie Birding Trail
The Cleveland region (especially Cuyahoga and Lake Counties) is by far the most populous area for birds along Ohio’s Lake Erie shoreline. As a consequence, the bird life of the Cleveland vicinity is better known than perhaps anywhere else in Ohio.
What is an IBA?
The Great Backyard Bird Count
This annual, four-day bird counting event engages bird watchers of all ages in capturing a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent. The event is led by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, with Canadian partner Bird Studies Canada and sponsorship from Wild Birds Unlimited. Mentor has been the #1 reporting spot for the past several years, submitting 1,503 checklists in 2011, thanks to Mentor School students. The Backyard Bird Count occurs every February.