The Best Birding Locations in Ohio (2024)

The Best Birding Locations in Ohio

By Anietra Hamper

Posted On: Mar 14, 2024

Ohio offers some of the best birding sites in the country, particularly along the Lake Erie shoreline. Ohio state parks, nature preserves, forests, and wildlife areas are spectacular locations to viewmanyspeciesofbirds like warblers, song birds, waterfowl, shorebirds, owls, and so many more.

The best times of the year to see these migrating birds begin in April, but more specifically, you can see shorebirds from April-June, hawks from April-May and warblers from April-May.

The Best Birding Locations in Ohio (1)
Boardwalk Trail at Maumee Bay State Park in Oregon

For those looking for more birding festivities, TheBiggestWeekinAmericanBirding returns May 3-12. This 10-day festival in northwest Ohio is organized by the BlackSwampBirdObservatory and attracts birders from all 50 states - and even around the world! While many of the activities for the week take place at BSBO in Oak Harbor, there's also two new van trips! And include stops likeMaumeeBayStateParkin Oregon.

Ohio's unique landscapes from the north to the south ends of the state provide ideal habitats for native and migrating birds. Discover more birding by checking out theseunique locations around Ohio where you can see all kinds of magnificent wildlife.

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Magee Marsh Wildlife Area in Oak Harbor

MageeMarshWildlifeAreain Oak Harbor is recognized as one of the nation's premierbirdingdestinations. It offers thousands of acres along the western LakeErie shoreline ideal for viewing the spring migration activities of warblers, songbirds, and mentor headlands. Birders can also spot hawks, which are popular for watching in early spring.

Throughout the year you can stroll along the boardwalk at the marsh and spot many species without even trying. Waterfowl like the wood duck, marsh wren, black-crowned night-heron, and bald eagles have been spotted here too. Thishandicap-accessible boardwalk, known as the bird trail, is next to the Sportsmen's Migratory Bird Center at Magee Marsh and provides access to one of the best birding areas in the marsh.

Fun Fact: Magee Marsh Wildlife Area is known as the "The Warbler Capital of the World."

The Best Birding Locations in Ohio (3)
Great Cormorant. Photo credit: ODNR

Lake Erie Birding Trail Along Northern Ohio

If you are new to birding in Ohio, then theLakeErieBirdingTrailis the best place to start. The 300-plusmilesoftrailsrun along the entire northern shoreline of Lake Erie and consist of seven loops that host a specific kind of habitat in each region. There are more than 400 species that have been identified along the trail, like the Dovekie,Virginia's Warbler, and Great Cormorant.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) hasinformationon what species you're likely to observe throughout the year in the different regions and advice on how to identify various species. ODNR has afieldchecklistavailable, which is great for keeping track of your finds. And you can order your own copy of theOhioLakeErieBirdingTrailGuidebook.

The Best Birding Locations in Ohio (4)
Osprey in action. Photo credit: ODNR

Howard Marsh inCurtice

The newest birding hotspot in Ohio is inHowardMarshnear Toledo. The area was restored from a working farm into a wetlands habitat and is managed by theMetroparksToledo. Shorebirds like the Black-necked Stilt have been spotted in the marsh, but its most popular attraction for birders are the migrating songbirds and waterfowl.

It's common to see trumpeter swans, ducks, osprey, and various songbirds at Howard Marsh. And sometimes you can spot sandhill cranes, bald eagles, and pelicans in the area as well.

The marsh has a four-mile loop from which to observe wildlife, plus hiking trails, a boardwalk and a six-mile water trail for kayaks and canoes if you want to observe the wildlife from the water.

The Best Birding Locations in Ohio (5)
Baltimore oriole. Photo credit: ODNR

Green Lawn Cemetery in Columbus

The 360-acreGreenLawnCemeteryin Columbus is one of the bestbirding locations in the state. While it may seem odd to stroll through headstones and memorials to spot a Red-tailed Hawk or Great Horned Owl, the cemetery has a prime habitat for many bird species.

The best time for birding at the cemetery is during the spring migration when you're likely to see thrushes, warblers, vireos, and orioles passing through.

But it's spectacular during other times of the year also. The Fall migration is a popular time, and in the Winter, you're likely to see more rare species like Common Redpoll and the Northern Saw-whet Owl.

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Prairie warbler. Photo credit: ODNR

Shawnee State Park in West Portsmouth

ShawneeStatePark located in Scioto County near the edge of Appalachia is the best region to go to from late April throughearly May. At this location you can see song birds, blue grosbeaks, prairie warblers, and chuck-will's-widows. These migrating birds are in this part of Ohio during early May for breeding.

Over a hundred species of birds can be seen throughoutthe area.Up for a road trip? You can drive through the scenic back roads towards ShawneeStateForest. Or takeout your binoculars for a closer look when you're exploring the many trails that connect to two nature spots.

The Best Birding Locations in Ohio (7)
Black vulture. Photo credit: ODNR

The Edge of Appalachia Preserve in West Union

TheEdgeofAppalachiaPreserveSystemnearCincinnatiis made up of 20,000-acres of woodlands, forest, and prairies. The best time for birding in this preserve is during the spring and summer breeding season. Warblers are in abundance this time of year, as well as other songbirds. It's also one of the best areas to spot the black vulture.

If you're at the preservelater in the day, evening brings different birding opportunities. During this time, you can search for the Eastern Screech-owl, Barred Owl, and Great Horned Owls.

The Best Birding Locations in Ohio (8)
Sheldon Marsh State Nature Preserve in Huron

Additional Best Spots for Bird Watching in Ohio

There'san abundance of exciting opportunities for birders in the state. Whether you're an expert or have always wanted to give it a try, you can declare thatOhio has some of the best birding spots. Or as the birds sayin the KaufmannFieldGuide:zhr zhr zhr zezee, pickety-wip pickety-wip, chpit chipt chipt.

For more outdoor things to dothis #SpringinOhio season, check out #OhioTheHeartofitAll

The Best Birding Locations in Ohio (2024)
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