Big Walk for Rocky River IBA
May 26, 2007

Thank you to the following sponsors who donated $100 or more to the
Rocky River Important Bird Area
Awareness-Big Walk

McDonalds/GLC Enterprizes

Page Stephens

Story & Species list Photos
Pictures courtesy of Mary Anne Romito & Dave Lewis


Some people will go to any lengths to promote their local Important Bird Area (IBA.  Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society (WCAS) member Stan Searles decided the best way to do this was to walk the entire length of the IBA from Hinckley, Ohio, north to Lake Erie.  The 31-mile route follows the Rocky River through both private lands and the Cleveland Metroparks.  Stan, who is Curator of Birds for the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, took it upon himself to do this on May 26.

Stan’s daughter Katie Genoviso and WCAS President Tom Romito joined him for the walk.  Beginning at 6:00 a.m., they completed the walk footsore but happy at 5:30 p.m.  Several other people provided support along the entire.  During the event, the walkers encountered residents, hikers, and bikers and other people just enjoying the watershed.  The encounters became opportunities for the Audubonners to explain the IBA project.  Stan conceived the walk as a way to draw public attention to the IBA.  “There is no better way to educate people about the IBA than to meet them personally and talk to them,” he said.

In 2006, WCAS began a five-year project to collect data on bird populations in the Rocky River watershed.  The chapter partnered with Cleveland Metroparks (CMP) to identify points on the ground throughout the watershed and conduct point counts at those locations.  About 50 chapter supporters and friends are participating in the project, some as point finders, point counters, recorders, data enterers, and data base specialists.  In 2007, WCAS is adding more points, conducting vegetation surveys at selected points, and conducting vernal pool surveys.


CMP will use the data to help influence land stewardship in the watershed to protect birds and their habitat.  WCAS plans to share the information with local governments (townships and cities) and private landholders in the watershed in order to advocate wise land use planning and zoning to reduce stormwater runoff into the Rocky River.  The outcome of this collaboration will be to protect forest habitats for birds and other wildlife and enhance quality of life for citizens in the watershed.


IBA walkers (left to right) Tom Romito, Katie Genoviso, and Stan Searles march up the all-purpose trail through the Rocky River IBA.

This view of the Rocky River Gorge is a typical view of habitat in the Rocky River IBA near Cleveland, Ohio.

IBA walkers Tom Romito, Katie Genoviso, and Stan Searles take a break along the 31-mile IBA route.

Theses species were seen or heard by the walkers and/or the support crew.

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Great Glue Heron
Green Heron
Turkey Vulture
Red-tailed Hawk
Pergrine Falcon
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pidgeon
Mourning Dove
Black-billed Cuckoo
Chimney Swift
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Willow Flycatcher
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Blue-headed Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eye Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Tree Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Blue-winged Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
American Redstart
Prothonotary Warbler
Louisiana Waterthrush
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler
Scarlet Tanager
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow


With smiles on their faces, IBA walkers (left to right) Tom Romito, Stan Searles, and Katie Genoviso stride past private lands in the Rocky River IBA.

This is why WCAS adopted the Rocky River IBA – to try and maintain a home for residents like this Peregrine Falcon on a bridge near Cleveland, Ohio.

Black & White Warbler © Dave Lewis

Magnolia Warbler © Dave Lewis

Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society, 4310 Bush Ave, Cleveland, OH 44109