Tufted Titmouse


With its pointy crest, large eyes and seemingly friendly disposition, the Tufted Titmouse has a special kind of appeal. It has a busy demeanor, flitting about actively foraging for food. This bird often hangs out with its similar-sized relative, the Black-capped Chickadee.

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This bird is familiar to anyone who feeds birds as it is a frequent visitor to homes. Its peter, peter, peter call can often be heard when on woodland hikes. The Tufted Titmouse relishes sunflower seeds and will hold a seed with its feet and use its beak to hammer away at the seed until the shell falls off. These birds create caches of food, hiding seeds away under the bark of trees to retrieve later.


In warmer months they feed on insects, snails and spiders. In the Winter they seek out acorns, sumac, beechnuts and cherries.


This is one of about the two dozen species of Ohio birds that need dead or dying trees to construct a nesting cavity. Relatively recent woodland management methods have started to understand the value of standing dead timber.


The Tufted Titmouse likes to line its nest with fur and has been observed plucking to hair from sleeping dogs as a way of collecting its nest materials.


These birds seem comfortable around people and are common in a variety of habitats. They do not migrate and can be enjoyed year-round.

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House Spider

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These creatures occur throughout the world and have derived their name from their presence inside human dwellings. A number of species are classified as “house spiders,” although the Common House Spider is the most recognized. These arachnids are also sometimes referred to as American House Spiders.

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House Spiders are typically brown or gray in color, with darker chevron markings along their bodies. Their legs are yellow, with rings at the end of each segment. Adult females are considerably larger than males.

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Their presence is typically characterized by the formation of cobwebs; irregularly shaped structures that can be located in various places within a home, including windows, ceiling corners and above or beneath fixtures.

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The abundance of empty webs is caused by the House Spider’s propensity to construct webs in various locations until it finds the most suitable place to catch prey. Unlike some other spider species, House Spiders may choose to cohabitate and mate numerous times. Females deposit as many as 250 eggs into a sac of silk. These sacs are often brown in color and are flask-like in shape. An individual spider can produce over a dozen egg sacs in her lifetime.

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After hatching, air currents disperse surviving spiderlings on threads of silk. This process, known as ballooning, allows spiders to populate areas far from where they were hatched. Adult specimens may survive for more than a year.

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This is one of the most commonly encountered cobweb spiders in urban areas, and can be found in almost every garage, barn, and attic. It is harmless, and it catches and eats flies, mosquitoes, and other pests that enter buildings.

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Eastern Hemlock


Ohio’s only native hemlock can be differentiated from other Buckeye State conifers by its flattened needles, featuring 2 white lines beneath them.


This tree grows best in cool, moist locations such as the north-facing slopes of deep ravines. The photos in this blog post were taken near Chippewa Creek in Brecksville Reservation.


Its cones are very small (from ½ to ¾ of an inch long), and appear pale green in the early autumn and turn a darker brown in late autumn. The cones hang singly from the tips of twigs and have 2 small seeds underneath their rounded scales.


The Eastern Hemlock has a range that covers most of the eastern United States and extends into Canada and to the west. This is a slow-growing, long-lived tree, which unlike many conifers grows well in shade. Eastern Hemlocks can take 250 to 300 years to reach maturity and may live for 800 years or more.


Its size varies tremendously, based upon local growing conditions, but in general Eastern Hemlock slowly reaches 70 feet in height by 35 feet in spread in favorable sites. Specimens can achieve twice that size under optimum conditions.


“Back in the day” its bark was much in demand for its tannic acid, which was used for tanning leather. Lumber production from eastern hemlock reached its peak between 1890 and 1910 but is seldom harvested for solid wood products now. Several birds and mammals feed on its seeds.

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River Chub

River Chub

While exploring this waterway, I saw a few decent-sized torpedo-like fish. I decided to investigate further and catch one. It turned out to be a River Chub. The River Chub is the largest of Ohio’s minnows, occasionally attaining lengths of 12 inches. They are sometimes caught by fisherman.

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Living in rivers and streams, they prefer large amounts of gravel and cobble. These fish are often found hiding around boulders, submerged logs and other structures on riffles and runs.

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These fish deposit eggs on gravel where they construct large circular nests. The nests are occasionally four feet long and are often used for egglaying by other species of fish as well. Male River Chubs can move up to 200 pounds of stones to build the nest.

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River Chub are good indicators of water quality, because of their intolerance of pollution and siltation.

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