An Earth Day Present: Rare bird visits wetland

Visitors at the Earth Day Bird Walk at the Wilma H.Schiermeier Olentangy River Wetland Research Park got a surprise this morning: the siting of a rare American Bittern.

During the walk, led by renowned birder Bernie Master, the bird was flushed from cattails in one of the created wetlands on the site. It was later observed flying over the wetlands by all of the bird walk participants.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Master noted, “The American Bittern’s migratory travels are little known and it is rare in central Ohio at any time of the year.”

Wetlands Director Bill Mitsch reports that this is the first sighting of this rare wading bird at the Olentangy River Wetlands.

The American Bittern is listed on Ohio’s Endangered Species list.

“The Swamp” celebrates Earth Day

The college’s Olentangy River Wetland Research Park is celebrating Earth Day in a big way. Today they’re hosting a “Green Lunch Series” tour of the wetlands. And tomorrow, Earth Day begins with an 8 a.m. bird walk led by world-renowned birder Bernie Master, followed by a 10 a.m. Easter egg hunt, wild-goose egg hunt, and muskrat search. The Easter eggs will be filled with an ecological gift, and hunters documenting goose-egg and muskrat finds with their cameras will earn a special prize.

For more university Earth Day Week events, see For more on the wetlands, see