A 137-Year History of the Summer Avian Community at the Winous Point Marsh, Port Clinton, Ohio, USA


  • Brendan T. Shirkey Winous Point Marsh Conservancy
  • John W. Simpson Winous Point Marsh Conservancy
  • Michael A. Picciuto Winous Point Marsh Conservancy




avian surveys, long-term monitoring, wetlands, Winous Point


The Winous Point Marsh Conservancy and the Winous Point Shooting Club, with landholdings in both Sandusky and Ottawa Counties, Ohio, has completed a survey of the summer resident bird population on the property 4 times spanning 137 years. Although achieving a true census is unrealistic, these surveys have provided a unique, long-term history of changes in the avian community in northwest Ohio since the 1880s. Surveys were completed in 1880, 1930, 1960, and 2017. Draining and deforestation of the wetlands in northwest Ohio, by the late 1870s, resulted in the loss of many forested-wetland dependent species such as Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea), Solitary Sandpiper (Tringa solitaria), and Northern Waterthrush (Parkesia noveboracensis) after the 1880 survey. Intensification of agricultural practices after the 1930 survey likely resulted in the loss of the early successional habitat that was associated with smaller, less intensive, agricultural practices and consequently the loss of many grassland nesting species such as Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus), Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna), Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus), Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors), Northern Pintail (Anas acuta), and Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata). Several new species were documented during the 2017 survey including Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis), Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator), and American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos). This long-term dataset provides a unique opportunity to investigate the avian immigration, extirpation, and recolonization of a specific site over the past 137 years, providing insight into how landscape-level habitat changes affected the avian community.