1. White-tailed Deer Antler Shed Hunting

    Feb 23, 2013

    The time to hunt deer has come to an end, but the time to hunt deer antler sheds is just beginning! Challenge yourself to a different kind of hunt in the coming months, especially in March.

    Tips for Shed Hunters





  2. Eastern Skunk-cabbage: An Early Sign of Spring

    Feb 6, 2013

    Eastern Skunk-cabbage produce heat to attract pollinators

    Join Debbie Nofzinger of the Wood County Park District as she examines one of the first signs of Spring - Skunk-cabbage.  These plants are thermogenic, producing their own heat as a byproduct of cellular respiration as they grow. The warm interior attracts early pollinating insects to come inside the plant. Thermal images of the skunk-cabbage plant are shown indicating temperatures of up to 70F.

    Skunk-cabbage: Earliest Spring Wildflower by Jim McCormac Ohio Division of Wildlife

    Skunk Cabbage Flower Photo courtesy of Jim McCormac

    After a long, frosty snow-filled winter, scores of outdoor enthusiasts eagerly anticipate the appearance of spring wildflowers. Come April, the explosion of phlox, spring-beauties, trillium and others paint the forest floor in a riot of color. Their emergence sends a welcome message: Winter’s icy hold has been broken; warmer days are ahead. However, long before the first trout lily or bloodroot pops forth, one of our strangest “wildflowers” has pushed from the mire. The blooming of skunk-cabbage precedes the full wildflower symphony by two months. Skunk-cabbage is not a cabbage – not even close. It is closely related to a well-known wildflower that will follow later in spring, the jack-in-the-pulpit. All parts of this bizarre plant, when bruised, produce an odor that will call to mind malodorous black-and-white four-legged beasts. Skunk-cabbage is finicky about its haunts. The botanical stinkers grow in springy quagmires of swampy woods. Investigators seeking a closer look are liable to discover that good skunk-cabbage sites are carpeted with boot-sucking soupy muck with the texture of quicksand. By early February, skunk-cabbage will be in full bloom in many areas. It takes effort to admire the flowers, such as they are. Far more noticeable than the actual blossoms are the fleshy purple and green spathes. These liver-spotted hornlike structures are fleshy tents that shield and protect the skunk-cabbage’s flowers. Enclosed within the spathe and visible through a gap – the tent flap – is a columnar structure called a spadix. Sprinkling the surface of the spadix like tiny greenish-yellow snowflakes are the true flowers of the skunk-cabbage. How does skunk-cabbage beat other wildflowers to the punch? It blooms well before winter has abated, often forcing its spathes through ice and snow. Basically, skunk-cabbage has a built-in furnace. The plant is thermogenic, which means it produces heat as a by-product of cellular respiration as it grows. A skunk-cabbage can be 40 degrees or more warmer than the surrounding air temperature. Thus, the interior of the spathe is toasty warm and attracts early-appearing flies and other small insect pollinators. After skunk-cabbages’ flowers have mostly withered, the huge leaves emerge. A skunk-cabbage colony in full leaf-out is a spectacle that can’t be missed. Do a scratch and sniff on a leaf, and you’ll wrinkle your nose in disgust at the olfactory assault. No one will garnish their salad with this stuff! But not all mammals turn up their noses at skunk-cabbage. Newly emerged black bears, arisen from their Rip Van Winkle winter-long slumber, relish the smelly leaves. It may be that skunk-cabbage leaves help the bear to break down the hard anal plug that kept the animal stopped up tight during its hibernation. Jim McCormac Ohio Division of Wildlife

  3. Explore Ohio's Scenic Geology

    Feb 4, 2013

    Ohio's Scenic Geology For anyone interested in Ohio’s natural history, this newly released video offers a brief look at the geologic origins of many scenic wonders that dot the Ohio landscape. From striking rock formations to dynamic lakes and rivers to world-famous fossil beds, our state features a complex geology that inspires a sense of awe and carries a legacy of science and lore. Running time: Approximately 17 minutes

  4. Common Spiders of North America by Richard Bradley - OSU Wild Ohio - Ohio's Amazing Arachnids

    Jan 30, 2013

    Ohio State University professor Richard Bradley’s new book, Common Spiders of North America, has just been released. This 271 page hardbound book features nearly every spider that you are likely to encounter, and is full of interesting information about these valuable but much maligned animals. Beautiful handpainted illustrations depict the spiders, and transform the book into a work of art. Find it online or at your favorite local bookstore.

  5. Wild Ohio - Feeding Backyard Birds In Winter

    Jan 25, 2013

    Wild Ohio Backyards for Wildlife: Don’t forget to feed your backyard birds this winter! 

    Feeder photo courtesty of SW RiverLands OCVN - Dave Woehr

    View these short videos for some interesting feeding ideas and information. Enjoy!

    Ohio Bird Sanctuary in Mansfield:

    Backyard birds do not know the difference between a store-bought feeder and one that’s homemade, so why spend money? Using inexpensive materials you might already have on hand, you can make your own feeders for backyard birds. Create your own homemade pine cone and suet cake feeders or edible wildlife art by following these simple projects the whole family can do. Once you’ve hung your new creations, sit back and enjoy watching the many types of birds attracted to your yard!

    Wild Ohio Backyards for Wildlife: Make your Own Suet Cakes

    Wild Ohio Backyards for Wildlife: Create Edible Wildlife Art

    Wild Ohio Backyards for Wildlife: Homemade Pine Cone Bird Feeders

    Wild Ohio Backyards for Wildlife: Making Windows Safe for Birds

  6. Biologists Propose Removing Bobcats from Ohio's Threatened Species List

    Jan 24, 2013

    Written by: ODNR Division of Wildlife

    For Immediate Release
    Jan. 9, 2014

    Traditional hunting dates proposed for 2014-2015 season 

    COLUMBUS, OH – The Ohio Wildlife Council received proposed changes to several species designations, including bobcats, as well as potential dates for the upcoming fall hunting seasons on Wednesday, Jan. 8, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

    The ODNR Division of Wildlife biologists submitted a proposal to remove the bobcat from Ohio’s threatened species list. The bobcat was one of 71 species on Ohio’s first endangered list in 1974. However, the bobcat population began to rebound in the 1970s, and in recent years the number of verified sightings has continued to increase, prompting the status change from endangered to threatened in 2012. Bobcats are still considered a protected species in Ohio with no hunting or trapping season.

    Three other species were proposed to be changed on Ohio’s state-designated species. A fourth was added as a species of concern, and this designation does not require council action.

    Read More:

    ODNR Species Guide - Bobcat -

    Columbus Dispatch Story-

    Bobcat Research In Ohio - A Cat Named Bob

    (Previously posted on the OCVN website in 2012).

    This short video describes bobcat research taking place in Ohio. ODNR Wildlife biologist, Suzie Prange tells us how the bobcats are trapped and released and why this research is so important for the survival of this endangered species.

    Bobcat Sightings in Ohio (2009):

    Wild Ohio (2010): The populations of the highly secretive and fascinating bobcat are on the rise in Ohio. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the research project the Division of Wildlife is doing on Ohio’s bobcats in the southern part of the state.

    Bobcat 2, Monroe Co., OH 2012 by Dave and Laura Hughes Here’s another fabulous trail cam vid from David and Laura Hughes from one of their now legendary Monroe County game trails. This Bobcat obliging stalks right into the camera’s view. Note how the cat apparently hears something in the thicket, and then devotes all of its attention to that area. A lot of interesting things go on under cover of darkness and we greatly appreciate Dave and Laura’s efforts to illuminate the night for us!

    Wild Ohio Bobcat Night Video:

  7. Do it Yourself - Build Your Own Nest Boxes This Winter

    Jan 14, 2013


    Birds can be of great value to homeowners, whether they live in the city or the country. But, to fully enjoy their benefits, a little time must be taken to care for these colorful creatures. You can help make the nesting season more successful by providing suitable bird houses or nesting boxes and, in some cases, nesting material.

    Building nest boxes is a great winter project, and boxes can be put up anytime - no need to wait until spring!

    Check out our nest box plans suited for different bird species so you can build the home that would get the most use in your yard. Plan to erect them by Mid-March. Then sit back, relax, and enjoy watching your backyard visitors in their new home!

  8. Venomous Snakes of Ohio - Native Wildlife Spotlight

    Jan 12, 2013

    Northern Copperhead photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons   This four minute video features naturalist Jenny Richards of Shawnee State Park describing Ohio's three species of venomous snakes. The timber rattlesnake, Northern copperhead and massasauga rattlesnake. The Black Rat Snake is also featured. Rattled This short video gives a close look at a Timber Rattlesnake doing what it does best. A clear warning of a defense is shown by it's rattle. — at Shawnee State Park. Don't Get Rattled Here is a behind the scenes look at a day in the field with contract biologist Doug Wynn. Doug has been collecting data on Ohio's eastern massasauga rattlesnake for almost 25 years. Timber Rattlesnake Research with Doug Wynn Here is a very unique behind the scenes look at the research in the buckeye state with herpetologist Doug Wynn. Reptile Flip Seek Field Guide Book - Biology of Ohio Reptiles -

  9. America's Mussels: Silent Sentinels

    Jan 10, 2013

    From US Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species America's Mussels, or clams, are a group of animals so inconspicuous they are often mistaken for rocks. Lieing on the bottom of lakes, rivers, and creeks, they rarely move and eat by filtering water for microscopic food particles. Even their reproductive life seems boring. The male disperses sperm and the water current carries it to the female where fertilization occurs. But throughout much of North America, and particularly in the Midwest, these rock-like creatures are sending an urgent message. North America has the highest diversity of freshwater mussels in the world. And within North America, historically the Midwest had some of the highest numbers of mussels species. Currently, however, in the Midwest (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio) more than half of the 78 known species are classified as Federally endangered, threatened or State species of special concern. No other group of animals in the Midwest is so gravely imperiled. To put this in perspective, The Nature Conservancy reports that about 70 percent of mussels in North America are extinct or imperiled, compared to 16.5 percent of mammalian species and 14.6 percent of bird species. Are mussels so imperiled simply because they're delicate creatures that are on their way out anyway? NO. Although mussels look sedentary, they can move. Many species have adapted to the constantly changing situations in streams and rivers. They can also close their shells to avoid short term exposure to toxins or other unfavorable environmental conditions. Thus mussels are tough creatures that can withstand harsh conditions if those conditions are temporary. The fact that so many species of mussels are imperiled in the Midwest shows that there have been significant, long-term changes to our lakes and waterways. And those changes have been so dramatic that these aquatic species are having trouble surviving. Why Do We Care? Monitors of aquatic health: the presence of diverse and reproducing populations of mussels indicate a healthy aquatic system which means good fishing, good water quality for waterfowl and other wildlife species, as well as insurance that our water is safe. Conversely, when mussel populations are at risk, it indicates problems for other fish and wildlife species, and people too. Ecological value: mussels are natural filters, feeding on algae, plankton, and silts, they help purify the aquatic system. Mussels are also an important food source for many species of wildlife including otters, raccoon, muskrat, herons, egrets, and some fish. Economic value: freshwater mussels have been and continue to be a major economic resource; first in the button industry and now in the cultured pearl industry. Mussels from North American form the nucleus of the cultured pearl industry in Asia.Education and aesthetic value: the study of mussels, their natural history, and habitat requirements provides interesting and important lessons on the interconnectedness of the aquatic system and how species adapt to their ecosystem. Cultural value: Mussels played an important role in the cultural history of prehistoric and recent native peoples of the Ohio and Mississippi River basins. They were used as food and the shells were used for ornamentation, tools, and as a commodity for trade. Indian shell middens (the piles of shells that native Americans have left behind) extend for miles along sites of old villages and encampments along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. Biodiversity: Mussels have, and hopefully will continue, to play an important role in our aquatic ecosystems. Considering that less than 20 mussel species are found in most other countries of the world, our North American rivers and streams are truly "rich" with close to 300 species!! Mussels do not get cancer. Researchers want to know why and mussels may have additional values in the future that we cannot now predict. The loss of any of these species will definitely have consequences on how the aquatic ecosystem functions.
  10. The Power Of Pollinators - Now Available!

    Oct 11, 2012

    Materials and resources are now available to OCVN Naturalists to help teach about The Power of Pollinators. The Power of Pollinators consists of three PowerPoint modules, each with notes and web resources. The materials are free and available for use in educational programs. Module 1: Why Pollinators Matter Module 2: Bee Biology and Identification Module 3: Gardening for Pollinators The Power of Pollinators was created by a partnership between: The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation The University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, and The Ohio State University Bee Lab and Pollinatarium Funded in part by a grant from NIFA’s North Central IPM Working Group, and based on training modules originally developed by The Xerces Society. See the attached flier for details on accessing The Power of Pollinators through eXtension, the National Extension on-line campus. Please help spread the word about The Power of Pollinators! Denise Denise Ellsworth OSU Department of Entomology Program Director, Honey Bee and Native Pollinator Education