Did you know that we have hiking trails here on campus? These trails are an excellent resource and if you like watching birds, there are several spots where you can actively observe them. The Biology Reserve, also known as ‘Runkle Woods’ was dedicated to Dr. James Runkle, a biology professor who has studied these woods for decades and has shared his knowledge with his students. If you follow this trail, you will come to a bird blind which has plenty of seating to sit and watch for birds unnoticed. The entrance to this trail is located across from the Creative Arts Bldg and parking lot No. 13 on Loop Rd.
There are many varieties of birds you might find on these trails, but we are giving you a few to look for on a scavenger hunt: Carolina Wren, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Tufted Titmouse, Downy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Red-Eyed Vireo, Long-Eared Owl, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Yellow-Billed Cuckoo and Scarlet Tanager.
Another great spot to watch birds is the prairie, which is located at the north end of campus near the Wright State Physicians building on University Blvd. In 2015, the prairie was reestablished by Dr. Cipollini, a biology professor at the university. The prairie was established with three different seed mixes: a pollinator mix which produces flowers for pollinators, a second mix for dry and rocky soil, and the third for swale areas which are wetter. The prairie has taken off and is producing quite well, as is shown in this photograph from 2022. Here are a list of a few grasses and wildflowers in the prairie: Big Bluestem, Prairie Cordgrass, Purple Coneflower, Black-eyed Susan, Stiff Goldenrod, Ironweed, Knapweed, Canadian Wild Rye, Teasels, Carrotseed (Queen Anne’s Lace), Blue Asters and much more. The prairie is a microcosm for many different species from insects, to butterflies to birds; all of them having a different role in supporting the ecosystem and each other. The prairie is important for birds not only as a food source, but also a protective habitat throughout the entire year.
This was a joint project with classmate, Yasel Rosado whose love for birds inspired the idea to create a bird-watching guide and scavenger hunt. We hope our bird-watching guide creates the desire for you to go to the woods to see if you can spot or hear these birds, and hopefully others as well! Click on the button below to go visit her site.