Discover Ohio’s Best Birding Spots
Ohio birding photos
The Best Birding Locations in Ohio
I recently had the opportunity to explore some of Ohio’s best birding sites, and let me tell you, it did not disappoint! As a photographer with a passion for capturing the beauty of nature, I was in awe of the spectacular locations that Ohio has to offer for birdwatching.
One of my favorite spots was along the Lake Erie shoreline, where I was able to witness the migration of various bird species. The sight of warblers, songbirds, waterfowl, shorebirds, and even owls left me breathless. I could spend hours simply observing their unique behaviors and admiring their vibrant colors and intricate feather patterns.
Ohio state parks, nature preserves, forests, and wildlife areas are teeming with birdlife, making them perfect destinations for any birdwatching enthusiast. Each location has its own unique characteristics that make it a birding paradise, and I was amazed by the variety of species I was able to spot.
As a travelling photographer, I have seen my fair share of birdlife, but the birds of Ohio truly stand out. Their beauty and charm are undeniable, and I am grateful for the opportunity to capture their essence through my camera lens. If you are looking for an unforgettable birdwatching experience, I highly recommend exploring the birding sites of Ohio.
To catch a glimpse of migrating birds in their full splendor, it is recommended to plan a visit between April and June. During this period, you can witness a variety of bird species making their way across the country. Specifically, April through June is an excellent time to view shorebirds, while hawks and warblers are more commonly spotted in April and May. Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to witness the wonder of bird migration!
The Maumee Bay State Park in Oregon boasts a Boardwalk Trail that is worth checking out. This trail provides a unique opportunity to explore the park’s natural beauty while walking on a sturdy boardwalk.
Birding enthusiasts should mark their calendars for The Biggest Week in American Birding, which is scheduled to take place from May 5-14. This exciting 10-day festival is organized by the Black Swamp Bird Observatory and attracts birders from all over the world, making it a truly global event. Although most of the festival’s activities occur at the BSBO in Oak Harbor, the festival headquarters is located at the Maumee Bay Lodge and Conference Center in Oregon, which is only about a 20-minute drive away. Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to connect with fellow birders and celebrate the wonders of birding!
Ohio’s diverse and unique landscapes, spanning from the north to the south, offer an array of ideal habitats for both native and migrating birds. For those seeking to explore the beauty of Ohio’s avian residents, there are numerous locations worth discovering. From the shores of Lake Erie to the rolling hills of southern Ohio, there are countless opportunities to witness magnificent wildlife in their natural habitats. So why not start your birding adventure today and explore the many unique locations around Ohio?
Magee Marsh Wildlife Area in Oak Harbor
Situated along the western shoreline of Lake Erie, the Magee Marsh Wildlife Area in Oak Harbor is widely regarded as one of the best birding destinations in the United States. This expansive area, spanning thousands of acres, provides the perfect habitat for observing the spring migration of warblers, songbirds, and mentor headlands. Additionally, hawks can also be spotted in the area, particularly in the early spring. For any avid birder, the Magee Marsh Wildlife Area is a must-visit destination.
For birding enthusiasts, a visit to the Magee Marsh Wildlife Area in Oak Harbor, Ohio, is an absolute must. One of the highlights of this area is the handicap-accessible boardwalk, known as the bird trail, which provides easy access to one of the best birding areas in the marsh. Throughout the year, visitors can stroll along the boardwalk and easily spot a wide variety of bird species, including waterfowl like the wood duck, marsh wren, black-crowned night-heron, and even bald eagles. This is an excellent opportunity to witness the beauty of these magnificent creatures in their natural habitats without even trying. So why not plan a visit to the Sportsmen’s Migratory Bird Center at Magee Marsh today and experience the wonder of birding for yourself?
Did you know that the Magee Marsh Wildlife Area in Oak Harbor, Ohio is widely known as “The Warbler Capital of the World”? This fun fact attests to the extraordinary diversity and abundance of warblers that can be observed in this area during the spring migration. If you’re a birding enthusiast looking for an unparalleled birding experience, be sure to add a visit to Magee Marsh Wildlife Area to your itinerary!
The credit for this photograph of a Great Cormorant goes to ODNR.
Lake Erie Birding Trail along Northern Ohio
If you’re new to birding in Ohio and looking for an excellent place to start, the Lake Erie Birding Trail is an ideal choice. This extensive trail system spans over 300 miles along the northern shoreline of Lake Erie and is divided into seven distinct loops, each with its own unique habitat and species of birds. With over 400 species identified along the trail, you’re sure to encounter a wide variety of birds, such as the Dovekie, Virginia’s Warbler, and Great Cormorant. So why not explore this incredible trail system and discover the beauty of Ohio’s birdlife for yourself?
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) provides useful information on the different bird species that can be spotted in various regions throughout the year, along with tips on identifying them. ODNR also offers a field checklist that comes in handy for recording your bird sightings, and you can even order your own copy of the Ohio Lake Erie Birding Trail Guidebook to enhance your birding experience. Make sure to check out ODNR’s resources to maximize your birding adventure in Ohio!
The credit for this action shot of an Osprey goes to ODNR.
Howard Marsh in Curtice
Howard Marsh, located near Toledo, is the latest addition to Ohio’s birding hotspots. Managed by Metroparks Toledo, this area was transformed from a working farm into a wetlands habitat. Visitors to the marsh have sighted shorebirds such as the Black-necked Stilt, but the migrating songbirds and waterfowl are the main draw for birding enthusiasts.
Howard Marsh, located in Toledo, Ohio, is a birding paradise where visitors can spot a variety of bird species. The marsh is home to many trumpeter swans, ducks, osprey, and songbirds. Moreover, lucky visitors might also catch sight of sandhill cranes, bald eagles, and pelicans in the area. It’s a great place to experience the beauty of nature and observe different birds in their natural habitats. Don’t forget to bring your binoculars and camera to capture these incredible sightings!
If you’re looking for a great spot to observe wildlife in Ohio, you should check out Howard Marsh near Toledo. This area was once a working farm, but it has been transformed into a beautiful wetlands habitat managed by Metroparks Toledo. There are many species of birds to see here, including trumpeter swans, ducks, osprey, songbirds, sandhill cranes, bald eagles, and even pelicans.
One of the best ways to see the wildlife is to take a walk on the four-mile loop trail, which provides many opportunities for viewing and photography. Along the way, you’ll come across a boardwalk and several hiking trails that wind through the marsh. If you prefer to get out on the water, there is a six-mile water trail that you can explore by kayak or canoe.
As you walk along the trails, you’ll be surrounded by the natural beauty of the marsh, with its cattails, wildflowers, and other wetland plants. You may also catch a glimpse of turtles, beavers, or other animals that make their homes here.
Whether you’re an experienced birder or just starting out, Howard Marsh is a must-visit location for observing the diverse wildlife that Ohio has to offer. So grab your binoculars and head out to the marsh to see what you can discover!
Credit for the photo of the Baltimore oriole goes to ODNR.
Green Lawn Cemetery in Columbus
The Green Lawn Cemetery in Columbus, spanning over 360 acres, is among the top birding destinations in Ohio. Although it might appear unusual to wander among the headstones and memorials to see birds such as the Red-tailed Hawk or Great Horned Owl, the cemetery features a prime habitat for several avian species.
The ideal time for birdwatching at the cemetery is during the spring migration period when one can expect to witness the passage of thrushes, warblers, vireos, and orioles.
However, the cemetery offers excellent birding opportunities throughout the year. The autumn migration season is another popular time to visit, and during the winter months, birders can spot rarer species such as the Common Redpoll and Northern Saw-whet Owl.
Prairie warblers are some of the most beautiful birds you can find in Ohio. These small, vibrant yellow birds with black markings are not only gorgeous but also a great way to introduce yourself to the world of birding. Luckily, Ohio is a great place to spot them!
One of the best places to see prairie warblers is at the Magee Marsh Wildlife Area. The marsh is known as the “Warbler Capital of the World” and has thousands of acres of habitat along the western Lake Erie shoreline that are perfect for viewing spring migration activities. The handicap-accessible boardwalk, known as the bird trail, is right next to the Sportsmen’s Migratory Bird Center and provides access to some of the best birding areas in the marsh.
The Lake Erie Birding Trail is another great option for spotting prairie warblers. The 300-plus miles of trails run along the entire northern shoreline of Lake Erie and consist of seven loops that host specific kinds of habitats in each region. The ODNR has information on what species you’re likely to observe throughout the year in the different regions and advice on how to identify various species. With over 400 species identified along the trail, there’s plenty to see!
But if you’re looking for something closer to the Columbus area, the 360-acre Green Lawn Cemetery is one of the best birding locations in the state. While it may seem strange to stroll through headstones and memorials to spot a prairie warbler, the cemetery has prime habitat for many bird species, including this beautiful little bird. The best time for birding at the cemetery is during the spring migration when you’re likely to see not only prairie warblers but also thrushes, vireos, and orioles passing through. In the fall, you may also spot some of these species during migration, and in the winter, you may even spot some rare species like the Northern Saw-whet Owl or Common Redpoll.
No matter where you choose to go birding in Ohio, be sure to keep your eyes open for these stunning little birds. Happy birding!
Shawnee State Park in West Portsmouth
Reworded: Late April through early May is the best time to visit Shawnee State Park in Scioto County, located near the edge of Appalachia, to observe a variety of bird species. This region is home to migrating birds like songbirds, blue grosbeaks, prairie warblers, and chuck-will’s-widows who come here for breeding purposes.
Reworded: The area boasts over 100 bird species that can be observed. For those willing to take a road trip, the scenic back roads leading to Shawnee State Forest are a great option. Alternatively, you can use your binoculars to get a closer look at the numerous trails that link to two nature spots.
ODNR Photo Credit: Black Vulture.
The Edge of Appalachia Preserve in West Union
The Edge of Appalachia Preserve System, situated near Cincinnati, encompasses 20,000-acres of woodlands, forests, and prairies. The breeding season in spring and summer is the ideal time to go birdwatching in this preserve. Warblers and other songbirds are abundant during this time of year. Moreover, the preserve is among the top areas to spot black vultures.
The Edge of Appalachia Preserve System near Cincinnati is a great destination for bird enthusiasts who are interested in seeing a wide variety of birds throughout the day. While spring and summer are popular seasons for birding in this preserve, evening birding can be just as exciting.
If you visit the preserve later in the day, you can search for several species of owls. The Eastern Screech-owl, Barred Owl, and Great Horned Owl are some of the species you can find. These owls are nocturnal and are usually active at night. You can listen for their distinct calls or use a flashlight to search for them in the trees.
It’s important to note that while searching for owls can be a fun activity, it’s also important to be respectful of their habitats. Avoid using bright lights or disturbing their nesting areas. With a little bit of patience and respect for these amazing birds, you can have an unforgettable birding experience at the Edge of Appalachia Preserve System.
The Sheldon Marsh State Nature Preserve is located in Huron.
Some other top locations for bird watching include:
- Crown City Wildlife Area in Gallia County
- Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Summit County
- Delaware State Park in central Ohio
- Erie Sand Barrens Sate Nature Preserve in Sandusky
- Grange Insurance Audubon Center in Columbus
- Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District in Lima
- Kendrick Woods State Nature Preserve in Spencerville
- Lakeside Daisy State Nature Preserve in Marblehead
- Milan Wildlife Area in Norwalk
- Oak Openings Preserve in Toledo
- Oak Point State Park on South Bass Island
- Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge in Oak Harbor
- Sheldon Marsh State Nature Preserve in Huron
- Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati
- Wahkeena State Nature Preserve in Sugar Grove
Ohio is a fantastic destination for birders, with a plethora of exciting opportunities to explore. Whether you are a seasoned birder or a novice, Ohio boasts some of the best birding spots in the country. As the birds themselves might say in the Kaufmann Field Guide, “zhr zhr zhr zezee, pickety-wip pickety-wip, chpit chipt chipt”.
Spring is a beautiful time to explore Ohio’s outdoors, and there’s no shortage of things to do. From bird watching to hiking and biking, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. If you’re looking for more ideas on how to spend your #SpringinOhio, look no further than Ohio.org.
Ohio.org offers a wealth of information on outdoor activities in Ohio, including popular destinations, events, and attractions. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an avid hiker, or just looking to get outside and enjoy the spring weather, Ohio.org has you covered.
Some popular activities for spring include exploring state parks and nature preserves, biking and hiking along scenic trails, and visiting local farmers’ markets and festivals. You can also take a scenic drive to see the beautiful blooming flowers and trees across the state.
Ohio is home to many unique and beautiful destinations, from the rolling hills of the Appalachian Mountains to the shores of Lake Erie. With so many options to choose from, you’re sure to find something that suits your interests and budget.
So why not make the most of this #SpringinOhio season and explore all the great outdoor activities Ohio has to offer? Visit Ohio.org to plan your next adventure today.
About the Author
Anietra Hamper has a passion for writing. She spent almost two decades as a highly rated television news anchor, sharing thousands of stories that have impacted people’s lives. Now, she is a published travel writer. In the fall of 2013, Anietra was selected to become a member of the prestigious Society of American Travel Writers.
With a passion for writing, Anietra Hamper has explored various untapped regions around the world, including unspoiled regions of Vietnam and tribal areas of the Philippines. She often documents her journeys through articles and blogs. Anietra also works as a correspondent for Child Fund International, which is one of the world’s largest non-governmental organizations.
With a passion for writing, Anietra Hamper has spent almost two decades as a top-rated television news Anchor, telling thousands of stories that have impacted people’s lives. She is now a published travel writer and was honored to be selected as a member of the Society of American Travel Writers in fall 2013. Anietra’s love for exploration and photography has taken her to unexplored regions of Vietnam and tribal territories of the Philippines, and she shares her experiences through articles and blogs. Additionally, she is a correspondent for Child Fund International, one of the world’s largest non-government organizations. Anietra graduated Cum Laude from Heidelberg College in Tiffin, Ohio, and studied journalism at American University in Washington D.C. She enjoys fishing, photography, fitness, and spending time with her rescued dog, Sunny. You can follow Anietra on ThreeWordPress.com.
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