• Black Swamp Bird Observatory Black Swamp Bird Observatory


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Mission Statement

Black Swamp Bird Observatory's mission is to develop and promote sound stewardship of avian and other wildlife resources through research and education.


Located in the heart of the Lake Erie Marsh Region, the Black Swamp Bird Observatory was founded in August 1992 by five persons interested in bird conservation. An independent non-profit organization dedicated to wildlife research, conservation, and educational programs for the public, our mission is to develop and promote sound stewardship of avian and other wildlife resources through research and education.

Research Projects
The passerine migration research project , which began in 1978, prior to the founding of the organization, is the Observatory's longest running project. Since 1999, this project has been collecting data every day during spring and fall migration, helping to develop long term data sets that give a truer picture of population trends over a longer period.

The Observatory's research has been important in identifying the value of the Lake Erie Marsh region habitats for various migrating birds like shorebirds, songbirds and raptors. The data collected has been shared with land managers to assist in making informed management decisions to improve use of these vital areas. Our research has been invaluable in providing information to the public in the form of educational programming and written literature for increased opportunities for bird observation as well as informed decisions on conservation issues.

Over the last decade the Observatory has worked cooperatively with many organizations, including the Metroparks of the Toledo Area, Ohio Division of Wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Sonoran Joint Venture. These combined efforts have proven to be valuable partnerships in sharing ideas and efforts to improve habitats for wildlife and specifically, for birds.

Other research projects include:

  • Studying the migrational movements and habitat use of raptors

  • Conducting shorebird population surveys in the Lake Erie Marsh region

  • Monitoring the breeding success and intercolonial movement of Bank Swallows in NW Ohio

  • Monitoring regional butterfly populations

  • Investigating migrational timing and habitat use of rails

  • Investigating habitat usage of West Sister Island National Wildlife Refuge by colonial wading birds

The Observatory's educational programs reach people of all ages, from the very young to the young at heart. Our goal is to open the door to the natural world and improve the quality of life for all the people we encounter. Our programs include:

The Observatory has operated with the dedication of volunteers for all aspects of the organization. Over 12,000 hours are accrued each year by the research, education, and general operation of the organization. The organization is supported by its members and grant monies.

The Observatory home, formerly in downtown Oak Harbor, is now located in the former Ranger station at the entrance to Crane Creek State Park. The office has space for volunteers to work on projects, window on wildlife viewing room, Education Center, a gift shop, and a walking trail. Office hours allow the public an opportunity to come in and ask questions about birds, migration or other wildlife.



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