Through the Binoculars: Otterbein Resident Shares Best Spots for Bird-Watching

Posted on: April 21, 2022

Carol H.’s most frequent guests favor sunflower seeds, peanuts, and a good oak tree. They’re birds of every feather that flock to this long-time birder’s backyard, tucked in a quiet, wooded corner of the Otterbein Lebanon campus. 

Read more of Carol’s story and hear her top tips for new bird enthusiasts below. 

A New Bird Feeder

When Carol was in high school, her father, who led a local Boy Scout troop, added a bird feeder to the family’s backyard. It sparked a passion that led to her majoring in zoology in college a few years later. 

A course in ornithology and a gift of binoculars from her older sister sealed the deal, and Carol, who went on to teach high-school biology, was hooked on birds for life.

A self-described “outdoors type,” Carol and her late husband made a game of seeing who could spot the most birds in their lifetime. They planned trips out West and across the country with bird-watching in mind. 

Female wild turkey in Carol’s backyard

Carol’s Favorite Birds

Carol says some of her favorite spots for bird-watching are right here in the Buckeye State: Magee Marsh, on Lake Erie, for spying warblers; Caesar Creek State Park; Sharon Woods. 

In her former home near Sharon Woods in Cincinnati, Carol spotted wild turkeys, which often came right up to her front window. She also loves the red-breasted nuthatch, the pileated woodpecker, and the wood thrush, which she says has become increasingly hard to find. 

“They’re my favorite little guys,” she says.

Carol had a few words of advice for aspiring bird-watchers at Otterbein: Obey the bird-feeder rules, and spring for the no-mess birdseed. Above all, a good field guide and a pair of binoculars are key. 

Backyard pollinator garden with native flowers

Moving to Otterbein

Carol and her second husband lived in Sharonville for a time and learned about Otterbein through a friend who was considering it for skilled nursing care. 

They looked through a map of the campus and identified a few streets that Carol liked – ones with quiet, wooded backyards. There was one house in particular that would be perfect. They stopped into the Otterbein marketing office one day in time to see sales counselor John Weber approaching.

“Do you have anything on Daybreak or Morningside?” they asked.

“As a matter of fact, I have one,” he said. It was the very house they’d identified on the map. 

After a quick tour of the house, Carol and her husband knew it was the place. Since then, Carol, with permission from Otterbein, has done extensive work on the backyard and landscaping. She removed invasive honeysuckle, planted native trees, and installed a butterfly habitat. 

“It looks a little more like Ohio now,” she said. “And everybody here is very accommodating.” 

Aside from birding, Carol enjoys knowing that she made a proactive decision in moving to Otterbein, and loves the people on campus.

“I liked that everybody is so friendly. Everybody is always looking out for you, and you’re looking out for everybody,” she said. 

Feathered friends included!

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