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Clifford Bird Observatory

Opened in the Fall of 2007 and named after Sister Adele (Mary) Clifford, S.C. (1906-1989), the Clifford Bird Observatory (CBO) is housed in the St. Theresa Courtyard of the Motherhouse for the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, Mt. St. Joseph, OH. Sister Adele, an avid birder, was born in Chillicothe, Ohio, educated by the Sisters of Charity, and entered the Sisters of Charity in Cincinnati in 1925. She received her BA in Mathematics from the College of Mount St. Joseph and her MS and Ph.D. in Biology from Fordham University.

She began teaching biology at the College of Mount St. Joseph in 1942 and remained there until her retirement in 1979. From 1967-1972 she served as President of the College, while the rest of her tenure was in the biology department. She did research at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and was a member of the American Institute of Biological Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Genetics Association, American Society of Zoologists and the Ohio Academy of Science. In 1973 she was honored as one of Cincinnati’s “Women of Achievement.” She has been described as a person with “deep interest in everything – from bugs and birds to people.”

Located on a hilltop overlooking the Ohio River, just west of Cincinnati, OH, Mount St. Joseph is a historic property with a very rich heritage. An elaborate bird feeder array was donated by Wild Birds Unlimited, allowing the Sisters close views of many species of birds. Feeder birds are banded year-round at this site. Within walking distance of the College of Mount St. Joseph, this location also enables us to host classes, educational seminars and house large groups. During the months of peak migration, mist nets are put up elsewhere along the hilltop of the 200 acre property.


The Clifford Bird Observatory is located at the end of Delhi Road in Mount St. Joseph, OH. Turn right into the Motherhouse property and follow the main drive past the front of the Motherhouse. To enter CBO, you must enter the main entrance of the Motherhouse and register as a guest at the main desk. You will be given a visitor’s badge, which must be worn while you are inside the Motherhouse. The front desk receptionist will direct you to the Clifford Bird Observatory.

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