David Lindo is constantly looking up in the sky. Known as the Urban Birder, he is in town this week through Saturday, Nov. 9, to help the Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society launch Urban Birding Cleveland. By connecting people to the birds in their communities, they hope to raise awareness about local wildlife and the importance of conserving and growing habitat for the region’s resident and migratory birds.
Urban Birding Week is underway, as the society and Lindo, president of the United Kingdom-based Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and author of “How to be an Urban Birder,” conduct a series of lectures, bird walks, and activities. The events are designed to encourage other Northeast Ohioans to look up at the sky and immerse themselves in the aviary sights and sounds taking place both in and around the city—and become urban birders.
David Lindo talks to the Cleveland Lakefront Tour birders at Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve.“It means you have a sensitivity to nature,” Lindo says of being an urban birder. “It takes some time getting used to being aware.”
But once the awareness is there, people are transformed, Lindo says. “I’ve met people who say, ‘There’s nothing here, just pigeons and sparrows,’” he says. “But open your eyes, and you see so much more. It’s about getting on a wavelength, blocking out the sirens and urban noise, and you start hearing and seeing it. Take 10 minutes or so and just sit in the park. There’s nothing complicated at all.”
Lindo is showing Clevelanders how it’s done during Urban Birding Week. He will share his knowledge at various events around Northeast Ohio.
“I find it very rewarding when you go in an urban area and still find nature,” Lindo says. “In the urban jungle, nature still sits outside your window, and you’re connected to the Amazon and agriculture as [the birds] are just passing through on their way there. And the ones that stick around, they, too, have incredible back stories. They have to survive the winters, and in summers they have to survive predators.”
Here’s the rundown of the events during Cleveland Birding Week:
The week started off Nov. 2 with a urban bird walk in the Cleveland Metroparks Rocky River Reservation, followed by a bird walk in the Flats on Nov. 3. Nov. 4 involved a birding tour of Cleveland’s lakefront with an evening fundraiser, and Nov. 5 included a Lake County bird walk and a community event with the Boys & Girls Club of Cleveland, Broadway club, followed by an evening lecture dinner with Lindo and Joseph Lautenbach, wildlife biologist for the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
Today, Wednesday, Nov. 6, Lindo will lead a Tremont birding walkabout from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. The group will meet at Civilization, 2366 West 11th St. Get a free ticket.
Lindo hits the Cleveland Museum of Natural History for a private event in the afternoon (although the public is welcome after 3 p.m.), before the Kirtland Bird Club hosts a lecture at the museum from 7 to 9 p.m. Registration is appreciated for the free event.
On Thursday, Nov. 7, Lindo will go to East Clark School for a private event for the students before heading to the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland for Urban Birding Cleveland Design Lab from 6 to 8 p.m.
Barred Owl At the LGBT center, the group will participate in a facilitated intensive design and planning session to draft model solutions to raise public awareness of urban birds, wildlife and forest habitat. Lindo will review the basic tenets of urban birding and teach us how to see the world as a bird does. They hope to create a replicable design any community could implement to grow conservation education, environmental awareness, and ecotourism. Click here to register.
Friday, Nov. 8, will be a field trip to several Cleveland downtown "hotspot" locations attributed to decreasing migrating bird mortality rates. Then the group heads to the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center in Bay Village for a workshop to learn about Lights Out Cleveland and Urban Birding to gain a deeper understanding of each conservation initiative. The group will have lunch before ending the morning with a bird walk at the Metroparks Huntington Reservation. The free ticket does not include the box lunch, which can be purchased here.
In the afternoon, Lindo and other experts will travel to Johnson Wetland Center at Lorain County Metro Parks’ Sandy Ridge Reservation, 6195 Otten Road, North Ridgeville, to search for migrating waterfowl, late wading birds, and early-winter birds. Click here for free tickets.
On Saturday, Nov. 9, Lindo will be at the grand opening of the All People’s Trail at the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes from noon to 2 p.m., followed by a follow-up to the Design Lab with a Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society Conservation Project Lab at Bethany Presbyterian Church, 6145 West Clinton Ave., Cleveland.
Cleveland Birding Week will come to a close Saturday night with a yet-to-be-determined farewell dinner event.