Breakfast with the Birds – Native Plantings for Wildlife Resources

Hello Wild Side Readers!

Tomorrow I have the pleasure of helping with the Environmental Professionals Network Breakfast program called Breakfast with the Birds: Advocacy and Conservation in Urban Green Spaces. I will be leading a tour around the beautiful Scioto Audubon Metro Park after the inside presentations conclude at the Grange Insurance Audubon Center. I plan to have short discussions on the importance of green spaces, especially urban forests within our urban ecosystems. If this subject interests you, I encourage you to check out my last article for more resources on managing public trees and spaces for wildlife. Below, you find some additional resources on providing native plants for wildlife, including birds, pollinators, and bats. Enjoy!


OSU Extension Fact Sheet: Native Trees: Creating Living Landscapes for Birds, Butterflies, Bees, and Other Beneficials

OSU Extension Fact Sheet: Native Shrubs: Creating Living Landscapes for Birds, Butterflies, Bees, and Other Beneficials

OSU Plant-by-Numbers Garden Plans for Butterflies & Moths, Specialist Bees, and Bumble Bees

Native Bee Resources:

Ohio Bat Working Group: information on Ohio bats, coexisting with bats, and habitat management included providing habitat for bats in forests and backyards. Bat house plans and guidance.


American Bird ConservancyPreventing Bird Window Strikes information

Ohio Bird Conservation Initiative Resources:

Great apps for more learning:

  • iNaturalist
  • Picture This or Google Lens
  • Cornell Lab of Ornithology – Merlin


I hope you are able to get out and enjoy your community’s green spaces soon!

Marne Titchenell

Wildlife Program Specialist

Managing Trees & Public Spaces for Wildlife – Take Two!

Hello Wild Side Readers,

If you are new to this blog, I share information on Ohio’s wildlife, but as an educator, I also create posts related to presentations at educational events. Recently, I had the honor of presenting a webinar for the Smithsonian Gardens ‘Let’s Talk Gardens’ webinar series. I spoke about managing trees and small forest patches in urban and suburban areas for birds, pollinators, and other wildlife. The below links are resources I shared during that presentation, as well as the slide set.

One item I didn’t get to in my presentation, was several new fact sheets for those interested in wildlife-friendly landscaping. The two fact sheets below share information on several native trees and shrubs that provide benefits to multiple species. Enjoy!

Native Trees: Creating Living Landscapes for Birds, Butterflies, Bees, and Other Beneficials

Native Shrubs: Creating Living Landscapes for Birds, Butterflies, Bees, and Other Beneficials

Also be sure to check out the NEW Plant by Numbers Guides for Specialist Bees, Bumble Bees, and Butterflies & Moths.


Managing Public Trees and Spaces for Wildlife – slide set

Managing Public Trees and Spaces for Wildlife – webinar



Doug Tallamy webinar – Restoring Nature’s Relationships at Home (the connection between trees and caterpillars)

3 Billion Birds Lost Research and Website

Alternatives to Non-native, Invasive Plants Brochure and Website– Ohio Invasive Plant Council

Butterflies & Moths of North America

American Trails Info on Greenway Planning

Bringing the Snag into the Urban Forest (Arborists and Wildlife: Retaining Trees for Wildlife Habitat) – Brian French

Dead Wood for Wildlife webinar

Nest Box & Bat House Resources

Ohio Lights Out Program

American Bird Conservation Info on Preventing Bird Collisions

Wildlife Conflict Resources

Buckeye Yard and Garden Online  – provides timely information about Ohio growing conditions, pest, disease, and cultural problems.

Urban Wildlife Information Network

USDA Forest Service Urban Forest Info:

Urban & Community Forestry Inflation Reduction Act Grants

Urban Forest Research

Urban Field Stations

The Cross Pollinator Newsletter – great article on urban forest patches and their importance!

Fact Sheets/Bulletins:

Ohio Woodland Stewards Invasive Species Fact Sheets

Managing Small Forest Patches for BirdsOhio Bird Conservation Initiative

Creating Snags (Controlling Undesirable Trees, Shrubs, and Vines) – OSU Extension fact sheet

Crop Tree Management – OSU Extension fact sheet

Enhancing Food (Mast) Production for Woodland Wildlife – OSU Extension fact sheet

Ohio Trees for Bees – OSU Extension fact sheet

Nesting and Overwintering Habitat for Pollinators and Other Beneficial Insects

Research papers:

Wang et al. 2021 – Tree species richness and diversity predicts the magnitude of urban heat island mitigation effects of greenspaces

Baker et al. 2020 – Suitability of native milkweed (Asclepias) species versus cultivars for supporting monarch butterflies and bees in urban gardens

Ricker et al. 2019 – Comparing Insect Pollination Visitation for Six Native Shrub Species and their Cultivars

Narango et al. 2018 – Nonnative plants reduce population growth of an insectivorous bird

Mason et al. 2006 – Designing suburban greenways to provide habitat for forest-breeding birds

Recommended Books:

Good Garden Bugs by Mary M. Gardiner

Shrubs and Woody Vines of Indiana and the Midwest by Sally and Harmon Weeks

Native Trees of the Midwest by Weeks, Weeks, and Parker


If you would like more information on forest management, please visit the Ohio Woodland Stewards website. We also have a list of webinars on a variety of forestry and wildlife topics. Enjoy!

Marne Titchenell

Wildlife Program Specialist

Curious About Coyotes?

Greetings Wild Side Readers!

The subject of this post is coyotes and there is a lot to discuss. Now, if anyone else out there grew up watching the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes as I did, then perhaps your first introduction to the coyote was through the trials and tribulations of Wile E. Coyote chasing down the always out-of-reach Road Runner. The word ‘wily’ means skilled at gaining an advantage, especially deceitfully. I think Warner Bros. described their canid character quite succinctly and when considering our modern-day coyote, some parallels can be drawn. I would not characterize coyotes as deceitful by any means, but skilled? Yes, indeed. Coyotes are intelligent, equip with heightened senses, and the ability to adapt to available resources not only to survive but to survive well.

Whenever I am preparing a presentation on wildlife conflict, I almost always include some information on coyotes. While not technically native to Ohio, coyotes have been here for some time, over 60 years to be somewhat exact. They were first recorded in Preble County in 1948. Now they are present in all 88 counties and are one of three wild canids that call Ohio home; the other two are the red fox and gay fox. (Gray wolves, in case you are wondering, were extirpated from Ohio in the mid-1800s.) Within those 88 counties, coyotes are found in a variety of areas, from fields to forests to urban areas.

Coyotes are present in many of Ohio’s cities and communities. They are considered to be one of the most adaptable carnivores, avoiding humans by shifting a majority of their activity to the night shift and spending their time in wooded patches and shrubbery within urban areas. Many residents are unaware of their inconspicuous neighbors and rarely catch a glimpse of them. But when they do, that’s when the questions roll in. It’s also why I include coyotes in my wildlife conflict programs.

Recently I presented on coyotes at the Ohio River Valley Woodland and Wildlife Workshop, an annual conference for landowners offered by a collaboration between OSU, Purdue, and the University of Kentucky Extension. Below are the slides I shared that day, as well as additional resources for even more learn-time! Enjoy!

Curious About Coyotes? – slide set


Web Resources:

Urban Coyote Research Project – Chicago, IL research lead by OSU’s Stan Gehrt

Ohio Woodland Stewards – classes, workshops, webinars, and more on forestry and wildlife in Ohio

OSU Sheep Team  – predator protection information

OSU Poultry Team – predator protection information

Coyote Species Profile – ODNR, Division of Wildlife


Fact Sheets/Publications:

Preventing and Controlling Coyote Problems

Urban Coyotes: Conflict & Management

Community Level Strategies for Urban Coyote Management

Coyotes – USDA Wildlife Services, Wildlife Damage Management Technical Series (good livestock protection information)

Predators of Poultry – OSU Fact Sheet


Recommended Books:

Urban Carnivores – Stanley D. Gehrt, Seth P.D. Riley, and Brian L. Cypher

Mammals of Ohio – John D. Harder and Guy N. Cameron


Thanks for reading!

Marne Titchenell
Wildlife Program Specialist

Deer and COVID-19 – What is Going On?

Hello Wild Side Readers,

Have you seen headlines in the news lately about deer with COVID-19? Some of these headlines are a bit misleading. Check out the below information on what is really going on.


SARS-CoV-2 and Deer

In a late August press release, the USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory announced confirmation of the virus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) in wild wild-tailed deer in Ohio. Earlier studies have shown that deer can be experimentally infected with the virus, and that wild deer (from samples in IL, MI, NY, and PA) had antibodies to the virus.

  • The deer tested were positive for the virus (SARS-CoV-2) but were not diagnosed with the illness (COVID-19). Some headlines you may see (including the above press release) are misleading! Currently, it appears that deer are asymptomatic carriers of the virus.
  • According to the Ohio Department of Health, there is no evidence that animals, including deer, play a significant role in the spread of SARS-CoV-2 to people.
    • Based on the available information, the risk of animals spreading SARS-CoV-2 to people is low.
  • Currently, it is unknown how the deer contracted the virus, though typically the route of infection is from human to animals.
    • Infections have been reported in a small number of other wildlife species, mostly in animals that had close contact with a person with COVID-19. More info here.

Is hunter-harvested game meat safe to eat?

  • According to the Ohio Department of Health, there is no evidence that people can get SARS-CoV-2 by preparing or eating meat from an animal infected with SARS-CoV-2, including wild game meat hunted in the United States.
  • Hunters should always practice good hygiene when processing animals.

Additional actions to stop virus transmission:

  • To limit deer-to-deer transmission, the Ohio Division of Wildlife continues to urge homeowners and hunters to avoid concentrating deer at backyard feeders or in hunting situations. In addition to SARS-CoV-2, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) and bovine tuberculosis (bTB) remain on the list of diseases that could be easily transmitted from deer to deer under these situations. CWD was confirmed in two wild deer in Wyandot County during the 2020-21 deer hunting season (see here for more information on CWD in Ohio’s deer herd). Ohio’s herd remains bTB-free.

More information:

  • Contact the Ohio Department of Health for questions about the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from white-tailed deer to humans; 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634) or
  • Contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture for questions about the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to pets or livestock; 614-728-6201 or
  • Press release on Deer with Antibodies to SARS-CoV-2
  • FAQ on Deer with Antibodies Study – also has food safety recs for hunters processing animals


Thanks for reading!

Marne Titchenell

Wildlife Program Specialist

Update – Bird Illness and Feeding Recommendations

Hello Wild Side Readers,

Good news on the bird illness front – check it out below!

The Ohio Division of Wildlife is lifting its previous recommendation to stop feeding birds. However, caution and vigilance are always necessary to help prevent further spread of diseases at bird feeders.

  • Reports of sick or dead birds possibly affected with the mysterious bird illness in Ohio have slowed considerably. A majority of birds reported with the illness were immature or fledgling birds, and the breeding season is now primarily over.
  • There is still no diagnosis on the cause of the mysterious bird illness. Research is ongoing at multiple labs.
  • Many other songbird diseases can be passed through feeding. It is important to keep feeders clean: use a 10% bleach solution (1 part bleach, 9 parts water), rinse, and let dry at least once a week. Take a break (7-10 days) from feeding if you see sick or dead birds. This prevents birds from congregating and passing transmissible diseases.
  • Symptoms of diseases such as house finch eye disease and salmonellosis include reddish or crusty eyes, and neurological conditions such as poor balance and coordination.

The Division of Wildlife would still like reports of dead birds to be reported HERE.

If you find or observe a sick bird, please contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.


Thanks for all you do for wildlife!

Marne Titchenell

Wildlife Program Specialist

Update: Mysterious Bird Illness Strikes Ohio

Hello Wild Side Readers,

I wanted to share a small update on the illness impacting birds in Ohio and surrounding states.

  • There is still no cause of illness or death.
  • People are encouraged to report sick or dead birds.
  • The following pathogens have NOT been detected, based on results received to date: Salmonella and Chlamydia (bacterial pathogens); avian influenza virus, West Nile virus and other flaviviruses, Newcastle disease virus and other paramyxoviruses, herpesviruses and poxviruses; and Trichomonas parasites.
  • No human health of domestic livestock and poultry issues have been reported.
  • The recommendation remains to take down feeders and baths until this illness subsides.
    • WHY? Bird feeders and baths are places where birds congregate and possibly transmit disease to one another. Taking down feeders and baths prevents these gatherings and the risk of disease transmission.
  •  Recommendation to keep pets (including pet birds) away from sick or dead birds (as a standard precaution).

Please see the below handout for more information. While the bulk of the reports are coming in from SW and Central Ohio, other parts of the state are not immune. Please remain vigilant and report any cases you see – thank you!!










Additional Resources:

Update from the USGS National Wildlife Health Center

ODNR-Division of Wildlife’s Page on the bird illness


Marne Titchenell

Wildlife Program Specialist

Mysterious Bird Illness Strikes Ohio

Hello Wild Side Readers!

Have you seen or heard about an illness in Ohio affecting songbirds? If so, the attached handout has some information on the mysterious disease. At this time, biologists are unclear as to what is causing birds to get sick, but diagnostic laboratories, including the National Wildlife Health Center, are on the case. Check out the below publication for more information and what you can do to help.

In addition, the Ohio Division of Wildlife has created a new webpage for sharing updates and easy access to their reporting websites.











What is Going on with the Birds? Mysterious Illness Affecting Ohio Birds


Marne Titchenell

Wildlife Program Specialist

Burrr it’s cold…How do animals survive winter?

Hello Wild Side Readers,

For many, winter is a time for huddling in warm blankets and sweaters, and dreaming of warmer weather. Of all the seasons, I hear the most complaints about winter. It makes me wonder, without being overly anthropomorphic, if wildlife species share the same dour attitudes towards Old Man Winter. Or is winter to them just another time of the year that requires certain strategies to be successful?

For some species, winter can indeed be challenging. Fortunately, wildlife have many adaptations that help them survive winter. In the below presentation, I discuss a few. From down jackets to frozen frogs, the abilities Ohio wildlife employ during the cold winter months are nothing short of impressive!

Winter Wildlife Adaptations recorded presentation

During the presentation, I shared several resources to learn more about winter wildlife adaptations:

The Great Migration video – Sandhill crane stopover at Audubon Nebraska’s Rowe Sanctuary

Birdcast – migration maps and live tracking of migration

Migration Science article – from Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds website

White-nose Syndrome website – U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Webinar on Creating a Living Landscape for Wildlife in Your Backyard 

Nest Box Plans for Wildlife – ODNR, Division of Wildlife

Recommended Books:

  • Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner – for the kiddos
  • Life in the Cold by Peter J. Marchand
  • Winter World by Bernd Heinrich

Enjoy and stay warm out there! Spring is just a month (or so) away!

Marne Titchenell

Wildlife Program Specialist



Ssssssnakes and Other Ohio Reptiles

Hello Wild Side Readers!

I had the pleasure of putting together a reptiles of Ohio presentation for the State Master Gardener Volunteer Conference. The presentation got me thinking that I also needed to do a blog article sharing some resources on these critters, as I frequently get ID questions on them. Below are some of my go-to resources when it comes to Reptile ID (I know there are others out there, so let me know in the comments of others I should add to my list).

Reptile ID resources:

If you want to learn more:

  • Check out this presentation by Brian Hackett, Wildlife Specialist with the Knox County Soil & Water Conservation District. I’ve learned so much watching Brian’s presentations.
    • Ohio Snake Identification
    • This presentation was made the 2020 Farm Science Review Online. Visit here a full list of wildlife related talks from this year’s FSR.


Marne Titchenell

Wildlife Program Specialist

Owls of Ohio

UPDATE:  If you found your way here after my recent Owls of the Tristate presentation I gave at the 2024 Ohio River Valley Woodand and Wildlife Landowner workshop, you are in the right place! 🙂  Below are the resources I mentioned during the presentation. Enjoy!

Hello Wild Side Readers!

If you caught my last post, you’ll know that this year’s Farm Science Review is virtual and all educational materials and presentations will be available starting next week. Check out my last post for more info and the schedule of Gwynne Conservation Area Presentations.

One of the Gwynne presentations is called Owls of Ohio. In the video I created, I promised to provide additional resources for attracting owls to your property. Below is a list of additional resources on owls. Enjoy!


Owl Life History Resources:

Ohio Division of Wildlife Owls of Ohio Field Guide

Barn Owl Population Status Report

Barn Owl Nest Box Plans and Placement Guides – both of the below guides are great!

Nesting Platform Plans for Great-horned owls

Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds – more info about each owl species


Nest Box Resources: 

Nest box specifications and placement recommendation for screech owls, wood ducks, and more – HERE.

Ohio Division of Wildlife Attracting Birds of Ohio – nest box plans for screech owl

Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s NestWatch – tips and plans for nest boxes for birds


Management for Owls Resources: 

OSU Extension Fact Sheet – Dead Trees for Wildlife

NC State Extension Working with Wildlife – Owls

Presentation on Dead Wood for Wildlife – Ohio Woodland Stewards’ Friday Escape to the Forest Webinar Series

  • Info on creating and maintaining den trees and snags & constructing brush piles

General Management Recommendations for Forest & Open Habitats for Raptors (including owls) 

Managing Forest Birds in Southeast Ohio

Managing Small Forest Patches for Birds


Recommended Apps:

  • Merlin, Cornell Lab of Ornithology – listen to bird calls (including owls), life history info, song/call ID
  • Audubon Bird Guide

Recommended Books:

  • Hawks at a Distance – Jerry Liguori
  • Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America
  • Birds of the Prey of the Midwest Field Guide – Stan Tekiela
  • Crossley’s ID Guide: Raptors – Richard Crossley


Marne Titchenell

Wildlife Program Specialist

In Ohio, short-eared owls can be seen during winter hunting over open fields and grasslands.