Nature Notes

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Cycling series comes to close this weekend

Biking has experienced a renaissance lately, though most tend to stick either to paved roads or rugged trails. Local riders who enjoy both have turned to cyclo-cross and a local race series that has toured Central Ohio since September.

Cap City Cyclocross races to a finish Sunday, Nov. 23, at Thompson Park on Lane Road. Races start at 9:30 a.m., and men's, women's and youth divisions in several experience categories will be offered.

Cyclo-cross courses feature a mix of on- and off-road terrain, steep hills, obstacles and short sections through mud or sand in which bikes are carried. Rides generally look like road bikes but have knobby tires and sturdier components often found on mountain bikes.

Most races, including those this weekend, are run with several laps over a shorter distance.


ODNR to put big fish in small pond

Annual rainbow trout stocking has become an important part of Ohio's inland fishing, and this year the Ohio Department of Natural Resources put about 25,000 fingerlings into 25 of the state's lakes and ponds.

Local trout anglers will be in for a bigger, better treat late in the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 26. Wildlife officials will release 400 adult breeding rainbows into Antrim Lake, the popular North Side waterway. The fish measure between 13 and 18 inches long and weigh three to eight pounds.

The daily bag limit is five. A one-day fishing license costs $11 and can be purchased online.


Eat, then watch birds, urges conservation group

After chowing down on some turkey, Columbus Audubon invites you to a post-Thanksgiving bird walk at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 29, at Glacier Ridge Metro Park.

The Plain City space is a prime place to view migratory and wetland species, offering a 250-acre wetland, 11 miles of trail and a large observation deck. Birders should meet at the Wetlands Education Area. Time permitting, the trip will also hit the park's northern area and nearby O'Shaughnessey Dam.


Local outfitter offers intro wilderness classes

The Outdoor Source in Westerville will teach novice hikers how to master their first overnight trip in "Intro to Backpacking" class at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 2. Cost is $5.

On Sundays through December, the local retailer also is offering a weekly fitness class geared to those training for outdoor adventures. Sessions start at 6:30 p.m. at Hoover Dam. Registration is required. Cost is $20.


Experts: Pesky critters to storm unprotected homes

As you winterize your home, energy costs should be on your mind. So should animals.

"This time of year has wildlife preparing for winter," Ohio Division of Wildlife biologist Donna Daniel said in a recent how-to video. "[Animals] may be eyeing your home in the process."

Experts suggest making sure your chimney is capped with wire mesh and ensuring no cracks or voids exist around eaves, crawl spaces, foundations or soffits. If mice or shrews do find their way in, the best extermination method is a snap trap baited with peanut butter and sunflower seeds.

Small adjustments now can save huge dollars later, Daniel said.


Outdoor Tip of the Month

In the bleak period between sunshine and snowfall, all you need to experience the outdoors is a bird feeder, sold at home improvement stores starting at $5. The two best ways to attract diverse species are to offer a variety of food (black-oil sunflower seeds and suet to start) and hang feeders at various heights. Don't buy the cheap bags of mixed seed, because birds don't eat the filler and it gets left to rot. For more info, click to

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