Audubon Ohio Wow Moments
Catherine Hartman – Cincinnati, Ohio
This is more than a WOW moment. This was a life-changing moment.
I have grown up in cities and suburbia. I have a degree in
zoology, but my knowledge was all book knowledge. If you put
me in the woods, I would not know the kinds of things a naturalist
knows. I went on a weeklong trip to Montana and bicycled and
camped for a week through Glacier National Park and Waterton
Park in Canada. The entire week was an eye-opening experience
but on the 6th day, I bicycled around a curve and saw a herd
of animals. I think (wild) elk. I had NEVER seen such a thing.
I stopped and looked and for the first time I had an understanding
of what the natural world looked like before we built our
cities and suburbs. This truly changed me forever. I soaked
in the views and land and wildness experience for the rest
of that day and the next day. When I flew back into Cincinnati,
I looked out the airplane window and started to cry, thinking
–What art we doing to the landscape, to our planet?
After that time, I joined Cincinnati Nature Center, began
to learn about nature and ecology with naturalists. I learned
more from nature walks and observations than I did from my
zoology degree courses. We all need a week or more in the
real wilderness to have any connection and understanding of
what wild areas look like, sound like, feel like. A suburban
backyard does not provide the same experience.
Andrea Cook – Pataskala, Ohio
This fall I was walking in my neighborhood when a huge flock
of birds flew overhead and landed in the trees all around
me. I stood still for about 3-4 minutes just to listen to
their unbelievable loud chattering. Then, in an instant, there
was complete silence – a few seconds later there was
a tremendous whoosh found as they all took flight at virtually
the same time. It was an awesome experience.
Greg Cunningham – Columbus, Ohio
I was recently in New York City on business, and had a couple
of hours between the end of the conference I was attending
and my flight back to Ohio. I took a walk through Central
Park, and was enjoying the fall migrants, when I happened
up on a group of people looking at a building. I discovered
that every one was looking at the nest of celebrity red-tailed
hawk Pale Male – and he was perched nearby! It was a
real WOW! Moment to see such a celebrity in New York City.
Mary Warren – Oak Harbor, Ohio
For me, WOW moments come when I see the face of a young child
light up when they see a bird for the first time. I am fortunate
to be a naturalist at Mayee Marsh so I have many opportunities
for these wow moments. They never fair to energize and revive
Tom Romito – Cleveland, Ohio
About 30 people participated in the Whittier Peninsula Walk
during the Audubon Ohio State assembly on November 10. During
the walk, we saw a Bald Eagle. Many of the participants were
seeing a Bald Eagle for the first time, and they were ecstatic.
Some said the Eagle was the bird of the day and made the afternoon
worthwhile. It was a “WOW Moment” for me to see
the excitement on the faces of these Audubon participants!
Paulette Ariss – Columbus, Ohio
When I was 8 years old, my family attended a camp weekend
on the Muskingum River. We kids were sleeping in bunk beds
and I had the top bunk by the window. I woke up just at sunrise
to heavy fog lying over the river, of which I had a great
view. All of a sudden, a huge great blue heron came winging
out off the fog and flew right past and on up the river! I
nearly fell off the bed. I was so excited. That picture is
burned into my brain and this many, many years later I can
see it like it was yesterday. WOW!
Laura Dornan – Louisville, Ohio
This happened many years ago and it is still with me like
it was yesterday. While hiking in Meadowland Trail at Quail
Hallow State Park. I saw far ahead of me a very small critter
running across the mowed path from the weeds on 1 side to
the weeds on the other side. I stood still and watch this
small critter as he continued to zig zag up the path in this
manner. As he got closer I was very excited to see it looked
like a small weasel and I wondered how close he would get
before he became aware of me. Well he never did realize I
was anything but some obstacle in his path. As he crossed
from 1 side of the path, he paused when he realized there
was something in his way, with his right front paw resting
on top of my left foot! He stood there for several seconds,
looking around and then continued his zigzagging up the path.
When I returned to the visitor center I looked him up in the
manual field guide and learned he was a Least Weasel. I will
never forget his foot resting on mine.
Johann Cozart – Columbus, Ohio
I have two. The first involves rounding the corner at my apartment
complex and seeing a Cooper’s hawk feasting on a pigeon.
It was only five feet from me. Of course he flew with his
lunch when he saw me. The second was on an Eco weekend bird
walk with Mike Flynn. Six or seven feet from the path were
two male hooded warblers on the ground fighting over territory!
Mike said we could go back to ___ - we wouldn’t see
anything more exciting.
Carol Lyle – New Concord, Ohio
Long ago in 1954, I lived in a house on a rural road outside
of Faribault WIN. I was on my front lawn on this beautiful
spring afternoon watching my two toddlers rolling down the
slight incline of the yard __ and __. Glad to have them safely
occupied I laid down on my back under the crabapple tree ringing
our yard – resting my pregnant body for a few minutes.
I looked up into the trees and noticed constant movement before
I took the sight of hundreds of sleek Khaki (sp?), crested
birds busy with fruits. I ran for my golden book and ID’d
my first Sedar Waxwings!!! Many years latter my grandson came
running into the house after a Kayak trip with us! We saw
this neat “roller bird.” He looked like a bandit!
I showed him a picture of the Waxwings and told him my story
Louis Fleming – Ashland, Ohio
Learning how to do IBA monitoring the presenters - from Rockey
River IBA – were well prepared with handouts, even Cds.
I’m excited to go home and present what I’ve learned
and helping to implement a monitoring program in Mohican.
My WOW Moment was the sighting of a baldheaded eagle to cap
off our fieldtrip to Whittier. This was my first baldheaded
eagle in the wild.