The Dawes Arboretum has a history with wildlife viewing that includes recorded wildlife observations by founders Beman and Bertie Dawes.
Arboretum staff have compiled more than 40 years of extensive bluebird observation records throughout the grounds making the species the most recorded and monitored. More recently with the addition of wetland and grassland habitats and through the collaborative efforts of Denison University Professor Dr. Thomas Shultz, The Arboretum now has an expansive ongoing inventory of dragonflies and damselflies.
Recording wildlife observations and wildlife management continues to be a priority of The Dawes Arboretum. With the aid of volunteers, Arboretum staff continues to monitor wildlife populations and inventory wildlife species.
New opportunities, such as an ongoing arachnid study headed by Dr. Andy Roberts of The Ohio State University, continue to add previously unrecorded species to the list of wildlife that calls The Dawes Arboretum home. Collaborative partnerships with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Ohio Division of Wildlife and Universities are imperative to wildlife management at The Arboretum. Recent bat surveys identified six species of bats that hunt the night sky at The Arboretum.
With the aid of staff, participants in education programs have identified nine species of salamanders living in the woods and streams on grounds. Arboretum volunteers have taken a lead role in managing two butterfly transect trails as part of a long-term butterfly monitoring project hosted by the Ohio Lepidopterists, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Ohio Division of Wildlife and the Ohio Biological Survey.
One of the longest volunteer managed wildlife success programs at The Arboretum is the Bluebird Trail. From several dozen bluebird nest boxes erected in the early 1980s to the current 89 nest structures, this trail system is monitored weekly during the nesting season by volunteers. The boxes are utilized by Eastern Bluebirds, Tree Swallows and an occasional Carolina Chickadee and House Wren. An average of 175 Bluebirds, 250 Tree Swallows and one nest of Chickadees are fledged each year from the trail system. These fledglings and their parents perform a valuable service by consuming insects, some potentially harmful to plant collections.
Responsible land stewardship includes responsible wildlife management. Wildlife populations are monitored and actively managed by staff and volunteers to prevent destruction of plant collections, habitats and the spread of wildlife diseases. A variety of management practices are applied including installing wildlife exclusion fence, taste, odor and noise repellants and nuisance wildlife removal when necessary.