Ohio Bird Sanctuary & Mohican State Park
Ohio Bird Sanctuary is a non-profit organization that rehabilitates Ohio’s native birds. The 90 acre sanctuary is situated just southwest of Mansfield and includes hiking trails, birds of prey and a walk-through songbird aviary. It appeared that most of the birds of prey that were captive on site would be unfit to survive in the wild due to injuries sustained in automobile accidents.
Some of the raptors that were on site included: Rough-Legged Hawk, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Red-Tailed Hawk, Osprey, American Kestrel, Bald Eagle, Turkey Vulture, and Peregrine Falcon. The owls included: Eastern Screech Owl, Barn Owl, and Barred Owl.
The songbirds in the aviary consisted of: Blue Jays, Cedar Waxwing, Baltimore Oriole, Northern Cardinal, White-Breasted Nuthatch, and Mourning Doves. A few Crows, Chickens, a Red-Bellied Woodpecker and a Gull rounded out the vast diversity of species.
The walk-through aviary was my favorite part of the sanctuary, the enclosure contained several bird species as well as shrubs and trees within. There was a raised boardwalk that traversed the length and allowed ample bird observation. The Blue Jays were quite bold and would often perch on our hands, shoulders and even Dad’s head.
The Nuthatch was a little shy but did eat a few seeds out of my hand. Food cups were available for 25 cents at the visitor center. The Jays were quite smart and would immediately go for the highest calorie treat out of the food cups. The hiking trails in the area were very well groomed and offered excellent birding opportunities. My parents and I looped the one-mile Wood Duck Trail along the creek. The facility was clean and well kept and easily one of the most fun and unique places to visit in Northern Ohio.
In addition to the Ohio Bird Sanctuary, I also highly recommend exploring nearby Mohican State Park. Mohican State Park is a 1110 acre park that is located just south of Loudonville. During the summer months there are excellent opportunities to canoe the Mohican River. Additionally, there are roughly 45 miles of trail within the state forest and park that allow an excellent chance to explore the landscape.
The gorge that carves its way through the park was the result of erosion from glacial melt waters as well as the current course of the Clear Fork of the Mohican River. The forest consists mainly of deciduous trees but there are also Hemlock stands and old-growth white pine forests. The latter of which has lead to the National Park Service declaring the area as a Registered National Landmark.
Being an avid reader of author Allen Eckert, and his masterpiece Winning of America series I am quite familiar with the history of the Ohio frontier. This area is rich in Native American history as it was once the hunting grounds of the Delawares. Unfortunately after the War of 1812 many of the Native Americans that lived in the area were driven out and settlement of the region increased. Even if the preserved area is only about 23 square kilometers, at least a snippet of this unique landscape is available to explore.