Wildlife Sightings

Spot some local wildlife? Tell us about it!

Use the form below – including photos, if you have them – to let us know the date, time and location of your sighting (be it in the parks or in your own backyard), as well as what type of wildlife you spotted and the behavior you observed.

Your regular reports will help populate this page for the enjoyment of your community of fellow Nature lovers and the interests of our Natural Resource Management team. Thanks in advance!

Please note that while this form does collect your name and contact information, those items will not be posted with your sighting, only used in case we need to contact you for additional details.

Report Your Findings

Step 1 of 4 - Sighting Date & Time

  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY
  • :
  • Large heron-type black bird

    Date: Sep 01, 2019 at 6:40 am

    Location: Beartown Lakes Reservation

    Wildlife Seen: 1 Large heron-type black bird

    Behavior Observed:

    This morning near the northwest fishing platform at Beartown, I saw what I thought was a heron standing very still fishing. Then I realized that the bird was black and had a rather short duck-like bill. It was about the same size as a blue heron. What was this?

  • Walking Stick

    Date: Aug 14, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Location: Clearview Road, Chesterland

    Wildlife Seen: 1 Walking Stick

    Behavior Observed:

    Stickin’ around my porch folding its front legs forward and pretending to not be an insect.

  • Sandhill Cranes

    Date: Aug 21, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    Location: Field off of Franks Rd.

    Wildlife Seen: 4 Sandhill Crane

    Behavior Observed:

    Four Sandhill Cranes enjoying the fields. The two with red heads almost look like they are keeping watch!

  • Red-tailed Hawk

    Date: Jul 23, 2019 at 3:30 pm

    Location: Eldon Russell Park

    Wildlife Seen: 1 Red-tailed Hawk

    Behavior Observed:

    Circling over the river north of Eldon Russell Park

  • Purple Martins

    Date: Jul 23, 2019 at 4:45 pm

    Location: Upper Cuyahoga near 422 bridge

    Wildlife Seen: 8 Purple Martin juveniles

    Behavior Observed:

    Purple Martin juveniles flying around bare trees along the river

  • Snake

    Date: Jul 17, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    Location: NW Newbury Township

    Wildlife Seen: 1 Black Racer Snake

    Behavior Observed:

    Traveling across concrete driveway in a rain storm. To give you an idea of its size, the distance between seam near snake’s tail and seam near its head is 6 1/2 feet!

    Naturalist's Response

    Karen!  Yeah, that’s a biggin’! Although we are within the range of black racer snakes, based on the snake’s length and body build per your description and photo, this would be an Eastern rat snake according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Reptiles of Ohio Field Guide (available from wildohio.gov).

    Until recently, these were known as black rat snakes. But advances in genetics have seen a reclassification resulting in much controversy among herpetologists (reptile scientists) which may or may not be settled.  So, suffice to say, your big beauty is a rat snake which, by the way, are good mousers.  They are not aggressive towards humans unless taunted or assaulted.  Thank you for your inquiry Karen!


  • Coyote

    Date: Jul 06, 2019 at 2:57 pm

    Location: NE Newbury Township

    Wildlife Seen: 1 Coyote

    Behavior Observed:

    Walking across back yard

    Naturalist's Response

    These are really great photos of a coyote. When we see them we are so surprised but they are everywhere and we just don’t realize it. I’ve had them in trail cams that I set up by my house looking for a different animal and there is a coyote just passing by.

    Thanks for sharing these photos!

    Denise Wolfe, naturalist

  • Wild Turkeys, Turtles & Coyotes

    Date: Jul 04, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Location: Geauga Lake

    Wildlife Seen: A Lot Wild Turkeys, Turtles & Coyotes

    Behavior Observed:

    The old Geauga Lake has been vacant for many years. Living nearby, I’ve noticed a significant increase in wildlife in the park. I see the same wild turkeys, deer, very large turtles, coyotes and fox all the time. The animals seem content, but I can’t help but wonder where they will go once planned development starts.

  • Coyote

    Date: Jun 17, 2019 at 10:45 am

    Location: Observatory Park

    Wildlife Seen: 1 Coyote

    Behavior Observed:

    Just before entering the wooded area on the trail towards the Nassau Observatory, I heard a commotion from birds, turned, and saw a single coyote running across the field and into the woods. Several birds gave chase and turned back once the coyote entered the woods.

  • Earthquake

    Date: Jun 10, 2019 at 10:50 am

    Location: Observatory Park

    Wildlife Seen: 1 Earthquake

    Behavior Observed:

    An earthquake was detected below Lake Erie on June 10, 2019, around 10:50 AM Ohio time. (That’s 14:40 UTC for seismology buffs.)

    Today’s earthquake was a magnitude 4.0, about one-tenth the size of the 1986 Lake County earthquake, which had a magnitude of 5.0. (However, the 1986 earthquake released about 32 times as much energy as today’s earthquake!)

    Today’s earthquake was detected by seismometers as nearby as Northeast Ohio (Lake, Geauga and Cuyahoga counties), but was picked up by seismometers as far away as Narrogin, Australia.

    Northeast Ohio’s Lake Erie shore has seen dozens of small to moderate earthquakes over the past century. Today’s quake is the most powerful in the area since the magnitude 4.5 earthquake that occurred beneath Ashtabula on January 26, 2001.

    For added fun, click here for a sound file which renders today’s earthquake as a sound feel. (It has a nice, old-school-Atari feel.

    There’s always something shaking in our neighborhood!