Improving the quality of life with educational and recreational opportunities for individuals with spinal cord injuries.

By Don Johnston

Springtime is the time of rebirth and rejuvenation. Fresh air and sunshine are the best medicine for all of us after a long and cold winter season.  We all know that!  One of the most popular activities that everyone can participate in is BIRDWATCHING!  

Now, birdwatching people, or “Birders” as they’re known, are many throughout the United States and the rest of the world. An estimated 96 million people observed, fed, or photographed birds in parks, national forested areas, and around neighborhoods and homes.  As an inclusive hobby for people with disabilities, birding is a great way to begin developing independence and strength.

It’s a way for people to get fresh air, hike, and commune with nature.  Our national and local parks around Northeast Ohio offer a variety of accessible parking lots, paths, and areas to set up, sit back and relax while watching and listening for birds.  From the Lakefront State Park in Cleveland and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to the Mentor Marsh and Headlands Beach State Park in Mentor to many others.  And don’t forget to look for the birds in our local areas and neighborhoods, from black neck stilts and trumpeter swans to ducks, geese, and osprey.  We hear the various songbirds visiting our feeders along with other backyard varieties like woodpeckers, sparrows, barred owls, Eastern bluebirds, and Northern Red cardinals.

And, just a short drive along the Lake Erie coast to the west, you’ll land at Magee Marsh Nature Preserve and Ottowa National Wildlife Refuge.  Each year, around May, you will see many visiting birds, including different warblers.  Warblers are a bright yellow color with different designs and absolutely beautiful.  Many visit this area from all over the country during this time of year just to get a peek at these birds.

Watching birds is a fun activity year-round. Look for the Ohio State Cardinal. It’s one of the most common, but there are different varieties. And you’ll find different migrating varieties every month. Go to Remember, everyone can do this at their own pace; all you need are your eyes. Just have fun!

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