Even if you're not a full-fledged birder, a couple of hours exploring the exhibits and trails in the Ohio Bird Sanctuary will have you chirping about some of the area's favorite feathered friends. The 90-acre preserve is just south of Mansfield, about a 15-minute drive along the eastern edge of the Clearfork Reservoir. Most of the action at the sanctuary is in its walk-through songbird aviary. Here, visitors can get an up-close (as in land-on-you) look at several common birds such as orioles, jays, cardinals and grackles. The most enthusiastic visitors encourage these encounters by spending a quarter on a tiny cup of mealworms to feed the birds.
Visitors more interested in observing than interacting will appreciate the sanctuary's raptor exhibits. Ohio Bird Sanctuary is home to more than 20 birds of prey. Gaze at the residents and read about why they're there. There are plenty of owls and hawks, but don't miss the crows, CeeCee and Colee, two of the sanctuary's smartest residents. It won't take much more than an hour to see all the exhibits, but if you want to extend your stay, try hiking one of the eight family-friendly trails meandering through pine forest, meadows, marshland and along the riverbank. The sanctuary is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is free. Guided tours are available for a fee.