Bird-friendly Practices Implemented at Wildlife District Three in Akron
Practice what you preach. It’s likely we have all spoken these words from time to time. The Ohio Division of Wildlife northeast Ohio headquarters in Summit County brought this expression to life in order to protect our beloved birds -with bonus protections of a wide array of other species too. Three significant projects on our property launched us into the modern conservation trend of turning human-induced establishments into nature-friendlier formations.
Firstly, each spring we would sadly discover a songbird or two lying motionless underneath one of our windows at the Wildlife District Three office. Once in a great while we would also hear that all-too-familiar “thump!” of a feathered creature colliding with glass. Finally, a little bit of a bureaucracy battle mixed with a whole lot of inspiration from OBCI and Akron Zoo (who promoted their bird-friendly glass project in a program) led to us hiring a company to tint our windows and ultimately reduce, or hopefully completely eliminate, collisions. We requested custom designs featuring native wildlife and plant species. We are very pleased with the results and so far, no more window strikes and plenty of positive feedback from visitors.
Secondly, we had more mowed grass and invasive species surrounding our office building than I care to admit considering what little value such things bring to our native flora and fauna. That said, we were able to gain approval from administration to move forward with native planting projects. We did this in two large spaces. One was nothing but a monoculture of mowed turf grass and the other was simply an overgrown field neglected for far too long. Both plots now harbor an abundance of native forbs and grasses that we grew from seed acquired from OPN. We have received official approval from a family of red foxes that spent the summer using these new wildlife-friendly spaces for hunting and resting grounds! If you’re interested in some helpful information that will inspire you, your friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues to plant for wildlife, look no further! Please consider checking out two publications produced by the Ohio Division of Wildlife; both focus on attracting native insects, which we all know will ultimately benefit a huge diversity of other wildlife species. Visit wildohio.gov to view “Backyards for Butterflies” and “Millkweeds and Monarchs.”
Lastly, our crew spent quite of bit of time and labor replacing non-natives at the entrance of our office building. A large non-native pine was removed and replaced by birch and red bud trees. Where once was burning bush, you will now discover echinacea, swamp milkweed, and rudbeckia amongst others. It didn’t take long for routine visits by hummingbirds, clearwing moths, and fritillaries. We are also pleased with the fact that monarch caterpillars feeding on the nearby swamp milkweed chose our building for their next and final stages of life; several caterpillars attached themselves to the front of our building, pupated, and successfully eclosed! This is the first time, in my 18 years of working at this location, of witnessing so much nature activity literally right outside our doors!
If your travels bring you to the Akron area, please pay us a visit sometime to see all of this for yourself. We will be pleased to show you around.
Jamey Emmert (her/hers/she)
Wildlife Communications Specialist, ODNR Division of Wildlife
912 Portage Lakes Drive, Akron, OH 44319
Direct: (330) 245-3020, Mobile: (330) 802-9152
ODNR Division of Wildlife: More than 140 years of professional fish and wildlife management in Ohio. Learn more at wildohio.gov.