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State of Ohio

NC
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis ©Creative Commons

Ohio's list of 412 bird species includes 41 waterfowl, 20 hawks and falcons, 47 shorebirds, 30 larids, 12 owls, 10 woodpeckers, and 41 warblers. Breeding species on the list number 200. The state's dominant geographical features include the Lake Erie shore along the eastern two-thirds of the state's northern border, the associated plains in the north and west, and rugged hills, untouched by the most recent glaciation, in the southeastern quarter. Dense deciduous forest covers most of the hill country, and agricultural fields are a prominent feature of the plains. Wetlands, though much diminished from bygone days, are an important component of the birding scene, with the largest remnants lying near the Lake's western end.

Winter birding is most exciting along the Lake Erie shore, with enormous gatherings of waterfowl and gulls. Spring migration, during which a day's count can approach 200 species, takes place over a broad front and on a strict schedule. There are many favoured locations for watching neo-tropical passerines, raptors, shorebirds, and the like at this time. The variety of breeders differs rather widely latitudinally, with good reasons to seek birds in both the north and south. Autumn's migration of passerines is more various in both time and space, with different places to find shorebirds, raptors, sparrows, ducks and geese, etc., and a lengthier time of passage.

Good birding can reliably be found in many locations at any season. Certain State Parks, many state Wildlife Areas and Nature Preserves, city and county parks, and Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge are always of interest, and are generally good places to learn about Ohio's bird life. Elsewhere, certain reservoirs, urban waterfronts, grasslands, woodlots, and the like are known to local birders as productive spots. Half a dozen examples of particularly productive areas are briefly described in the section below.

Ohioans are fortunate to have excellent sources of information for visiting birders and the very best source is local birders who welcome visitors. Like birders everywhere, we relish making new friends, and showing our birds to those less familiar with them.

Top Sites

Headlands Beach State Park

Webpage

Satellite View

Headlands Beach State Park and Natural Area, thirty miles east of Cleveland, is also a magnet for spring and fall migrants, not only passerines but waterfowl and gulls. Here, marshes, sand dunes, open beach, and both open and sheltered Lake water invite an ever-changing succession of passing birds, and the area's list numbers over 300 species. Perhaps no place in the state is more exciting in winter for water birds when the Lake remains unfrozen.

Hocking Hills State Park

Webpage

Satellite View

The Hocking Hills, in Hocking County in the south-central part of the state, harbour a rich array of breeding species from late April through August, accessible in scenic settings on trails on public lands. Several state parks here feature striking sandstone caves, cliffs, and ravines, and Clear Creek Metro Park has a fine range of unspoiled habitats, with damp and shadowy gorges, riparian areas, fields, and deep woods. A significant number of more southern species, unlikely to be found at places like Magee, occur here as breeders, and hence are especially noticeable. At the same time, some habitats in the Hills, such as groves of hemlocks and other conifers, harbour nesters normally found only far to the north.

Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area

Webpage

Satellite View

Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area is dominated by grasslands and successional habitats interrupted by woodlots and reservoirs. While of interest during migration periods, this area in Wyandot County in the central part of the state draws most attention from birders during the winter, when numerous raptors hunt its fields and forests. Eagles nest, and several species of hawks are usually prominently present in good numbers. Owls of half a dozen species are easiest to find at this time, with the most thrilling encounters perhaps those with hunting short-eared owls at dusk over the fields. Other wintering birds such as shrikes, buntings, longspurs, and sparrows are as easy to find here as anywhere in the state.

Magee Marsh Wildlife Area

Website

Satellite View

Magee Marsh Wildlife Area deserves its international reputation as a spring migrant trap, due mostly to the spectacular concentrations of northbound birds near its boardwalk trail, accessible from the Crane Creek State Park parking lot. More than a few May days will bring 20+ species of wood warblers, along with Colorful orioles, tanagers, grosbeaks, flycatchers, etc. Corresponding concentrations of birders help to ensure that no species goes unobserved or unshared here. The great spring rush of migrants is easily observed at other spots along the Lake as well, such as in the Lake Erie Islands and parklands to the east, or at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, though nearby Ottawa is most renowned in spring as a spot for raptors, waterfowl, and shorebirds during their migrations.

Oak Openings

Information

Satellite View

The Oak Openings, protected in several Nature Conservancy preserves and in the Toledo parks system, represent several habitats unique to Ohio. Sandy ridges, patches of wetland, and several forest types constitute this area west of Toledo. This is a fine spot for observing spring and fall migrations, and several species of birds and butterflies breed only here in the state. Like those of the Hocking Hills, its richly-mixed habitats attract nesting birds from much further north and south than its latitude alone would suggest.

Shawnee State Forest

Webpage

Satellite View

After a long winter, Ohio birders resort to Shawnee State Forest as an attractive place to see and hear the year's first migrants. Beginning in mid-April, numerous neo-tropical birds appear, many those of southern affinities arriving to breed, and by the end of the month birds heading for Canada are passing through. Very peaceful at this time of year, this mature forest rings with birdsong, and wildflowers in bloom are everywhere at one's feet. Nearby Adams County is dominated by the botanical treasures of its large Nature Conservancy properties, but here also are the most reliable spots in Ohio for southern nesters like chuck-will's-widows and blue grosbeaks.

Contributor

Bill Whan

Editor - The Ohio Cardinal

danielel@iwaynet.net

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 431

As at July 2015

Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web

Useful Reading

A Birders Guide to the Cincinnati Tristate

By Robert Folzenlogen Second Edition Published by Willow Press Paperback 140 pages

ISBN: 0962068586

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birding in Ohio

Tom Thomson Paperback (November 1994) Indiana University Press

ISBN: 0253208742

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of Ohio

Jim McCormac and Gregory Kennedy 360 pages, col illus, map. Lone Pine Publishing 2004

ISBN: 1551053926

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of the Lake Erie Region

by Carolyn V Platt 2001 Kent State Univ Press, Kent, OH.

ISBN: 0873386906

Buy this book from NHBS.com

The Birds of Ohio

by Bruce G Peterjohn 2001 The Wooster Book Co, Wooster, OH.

ISBN: 1888683880

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Useful Information

Ohios Wildlife Areas

The website has notes on all state wildlife areas
http://www.ohiodnr.com/

State Bird

Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis

The Ohio Cardinal

…the state birding magazine… details from our correspondent.

Forums & Mailing Lists

Ohio Birding Forum

Forum

The Ohio Birding Forum provides a supplement to the Ohio-birds mailing list. Unlike that list, which is limited to discussions of Ohio birding, the Forum provides a place for you to discuss nearly any topic that relates to birds or birding….

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Birding Pal

Information

Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…

Trip Reports

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2011 [05 May] - Steve Arlow

Report PDF

…Northern Rough-winged Swallows were by the small bridge whilst in the low scrub there were singing male American Goldfinch, a couple of glow in the dark Yellow Warblers, several more Sparrows and overhead were Tree Swallows and a couple of Chimney Swifts. Along the lake shore were a couple of fine though brief Spotted Sandpipers whilst on the lake beach were numerous Ring-billed Gulls and a Common Tern whilst Great Egrets were seen flying past….

2013 [05 May] - James P. Smith

Report PDF

…A cold, grey and overcast day with temperatures barely reaching 10°C, not the weather welcome I had been expecting. Everyone met up at Detroit airport shortly after 13.00 and within the hour we were on the road heading southeast into Ohio. Initially, roadside birding held little of interest: Canada Goose, House Sparrow, Common Starling and even Common Grackle do little for the birding appetite…

2014 [05 May] - Derek marsh

Report

...Chose to visit Ohio, combined with a short visit to Michigan, after my brother told us that it was a good place for birding. We looked it up online and read that it was a good place to see and photo American Warblers. What we had read was not wrong as we had views along the boardwalk down to two feet and at time the bushes were alive with warblers. Although we had been to the USA before and already seen a lot of the warblers it was great to see them in their splendid summer plumage and in such great numbers...

2015 [05 May] - James P Smith - Ohio & Michigan

Report PDF

Places to Stay

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Colonel Taylor Inn

Accommodation

The Colonel Taylor Inn is a beautiful three story, 9000 sq. ft.Victorian Mansion located in the Scenic part of Southeastern Ohio. Our Inn is a striking example of Victorian architecture that captures all the charm & grace of a bygone era, with central A/C and all the comforts of today. Visitors will enjoy the history of this gracious Painted Lady as well as the opportunity to explore the countryside. Our Inn is located near many state parks, craft shops, antique malls, hiking, boating, horseback riding, cross-country skiing and other winter sports…

Island House Inn

Accommodation

Birdwatcher's Specials - Sept to May

Lansing Street B&B

Accommodation

This room had a wall of french doors which overlooks the courtyard with its fountain, many windchimes and lots of birds and, in the right seasons, beautiful flowers…

St. George House B&B

Accommodation

The room layout is user-friendly, displaying some antiques and 1920`s furniture. When the weather is suitable, one can spot small animals, sometimes deer, and many migrating birds as well as our usual friends.

Organisations

Appalachian Front Audubon Society

Website

PO Box 67, Mt Orab, OH 45154

Audubon Society in Ohio

Website

The link page listing Ohio Chapters.

Audubon Miami Valley

Website

A regional chapter of the National Audubon Society…

Audubon Society of Greater Cleveland

Website

The Audubon Society of Greater Cleveland has a long and proud history of service to the Greater Cleveland Community and its members. It is one of Cleveland's oldest continuously operating environmental organizations…

Audubon Society of Mahoning Valley

Facebook Page

As a member of the National Audubon Society, you are also a member of the Audubon Society / Mahoning Valley, our local chapter. There are no local dues, and you will receive The Heron bimonthly. To find out more about activities of Mahoning Valley Audubon, contact any of our officers, or join us at a meeting…

Audubon Society of Ohio

Website

3398 W. Galbraith Road, Cincinnati, OH 45239, 513-741-7926, Fax 513-741-7926 - Carol Avril, Vice President - There were already a few bird clubs around the country calling themselves Audubon societies in honour of pioneering bird artist John J. Audubon. But none had a more logical claim on the name than did Cincinnati. The famous bird artist had once been a Cincinnati citizen. In 1819 he became an employee of the Western Museum, which eventually became the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History. Here Audubon began the series of paintings that eventually led to publication of his famous birds of America. Five of the paintings in the collection were completed in Cincinnati…

Black River Audubon Society

Website

All Field Trips are free and open to the public. (unless otherwise noted) Dates and times are subject to change…

Black Swamp Audubon Society

Information

P O Box 7086, Defiance, OH 43512

Black Swamp Conservancy

Website

The Black Swamp Conservancy is "the Perrysburg-based land trust that is doing so much to preserve agriculturally and ecologically significant land in the region."..

Blackbrook Audubon Society

Website

Serving the communities of North East Ohio, particularly Lake and Geauga Counties. Please read our Bi-monthly magazine, The Hushwing Herald, for more information…

Canton Audubon Society

Website

The Canton Audubon Society (CAS) was founded in 1962 and has been a local chapter of the National Audubon Society in Stark, Tuscarawas, Coshocton and Wayne counties since 1981…

Clark County Audubon Society

Website

Membership dues for Clark County Audubon are $20 per year. This supports our newsletter, meetings, Christmas Bird Count, field trips and other activities. If you are interested in joining please contact Doug Overacker. You can send memberships to Doug Overacker, 2532 Woodside Ave., Springfield, OH 45503. Send a check made out to Clark County Audubon.

Columbus Audubon Society

Website

With approximately 3,000 members in Central Ohio, Columbus Audubon is one of the largest Audubon chapters in the nation. We offer a variety of ways for members and other nature enthusiasts to learn about and enjoy wildlife.

Dayton Audubon Society

Facebook Page

Our purpose and objectives are to engage in any such educational, scientific, investigative, literary, historical, philanthropic and charitable pursuits as may be part of the stated purpose of the National Audubon Society of which the Dayton Audubon Society shall function as a Chapter.

East Central Ohio Audubon Society

Website

We are glad that you stopped in to visit our web site. We hope that you find it useful and return periodically to check out what our chapter is doing. ECO-AS has over 500 members in the six county area that we serve. Our main mission is to provide a local link to the National Audubon Society and to provide fun environmental education programming for not only our members but for everyone in our service area…

Firelands Audubon Society

Website

Bird counts, events, kids club etc. etc…

Greater Akron Audubon Society

Website

Thank you for visiting the home page of the Greater Akron Audubon Society. We hope you enjoy the visit and decide to join us in some of our activities. As is common on the Web, these pages are continually changing. Each page should indicate the date of the last change; in addition, this home page will have dates for each of the subsequent pages. Better than average chapter site…

Greater Mohican Audubon Society

Website

The Greater Mohican Audubon Society consists of Ashland, Holmes, Richland, and Wayne Counties in North-central Ohio. The National Audubon Society recognized GMAS as an official chapter in May 1999. The bird chosen to represent the GMAS is the handsome Bobolink…

Kelleys Island Audubon Club

Website

With a land mass of twenty-eight hundred acres (four square miles) and almost eighteen miles of shoreline, Kelleys Island is the largest American island situated in the western basin of Lake Erie. Located three and one half miles north of Marblehead, Ohio, its latitude is forty-one degrees thirty-five minutes north and eighty-two degrees forty-two minutes west.

Kirtland Bird Club

Website

The Kirtland Bird Club (KBC) has over a 60-year tradition of quality contributions to the Northeast Ohio Birding community. The objectives of the KBC are the serious study of ornithology with a view to increasing the knowledge of individual members, the exchange of ornithological experiences and records, the compilation and publication of important information on birds, and the promotion of good fellowship among its members…

Nature Conservancy in Ohio

Website

A sparkling new site… Working with Communities to Preserve Ohio's Last Great Places. Welcome to the Ohio Chapter of The Nature Conservancy! Here you'll find information on the many ways we're working with the people of the state and the nation to help preserve the diversity of living things by protecting the habitats - land and water - in which they live…

Ohio Bluebird Society

Website

The Ohio Bluebird Society was formed in 1987 to foster the return and the perpetuation of the Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) and other native cavity nesting birds in Ohio. To this end, the Ohio Bluebird Society will strive for the best methods to use to conserve and create habitat for the protection of these species…

Ohio Bird Records Committee

Website

Our knowledge of Ohio’s birds would be incomplete if we could not agree upon which birds rightfully belong on any list of these birds. All of us know the common species, but when it comes to the rare ones, opinions can differ in the absence of verified knowledge. Knowledge about the scarcer species is important: it may teach us about range changes among these birds, or provide the first warnings about threats to birds becoming harder to find locally or throughout their range. Similarly, evidence of unusual seasonal occurrences, nesting records, or noteworthy numbers of less common species is vital to monitoring their status in Ohio.

Ohio Ornithological Society

Website

The Ohio Ornithological Society, P.O. Box 14051, Columbus, Ohio 43214 - There is a rich tradition of ornithological societies around the world. Ohio itself has a venerable history of local organizations devoted at least in part to to birds: the Cincinnati Bird Club, the Kirtland Bird Club, Columbus' Wheaton Club, the Toledo Naturalists' Association, and others, including many active local Audubon chapters. But what Ohio lacked, until 2004, was a wider-reaching, statewide organization—one that would will bring local groups together, muster many important resources, provide a larger perspective, seek wide appeal amongst many constituencies, and represent the cause of bird protection for all. It was this general set of goals that was the genesis of The Ohio Ornithological Society, which was founded by a dedicated group of Ohio birders in the winter of 2004…

Toledo Naturalists Association

Website

Rare Bird Alert + birding news etc.

Tri-Moraine Audubon Society

Website

The Tri-Moraine Audubon Society is more than just birds! Our members belong for many different reasons. All appreciate the natural environment. Some are interested in reptiles and amphibians. Others in flowers, trees, and mushrooms. Others enjoy star-gazing. And some just enjoy spending time outdoors…

Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society

Website

What were really about is nature and families enjoying, experiencing and learning about nature. We offer the opportunity for people of all ages to participate in nature walks, attend educational programs, meet other people with like interests and values…

Festivals

The Biggest Week in American Birding

Festival

May 4 - May 13, 2012 - A Birding Festival in Northwest Ohio: 'The Warbler Capital of the World'….

Observatories

Black Swamp Bird Observatory

Observatory Website

Satellite View

Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) is an independent non-profit organization devoted to wildlife research, conservation and educational programs for the public. The Observatory's objectives are to develop and promote sound stewardship of avian and other wildlife resources through research and education. BSBO cooperates with governmental agencies, environmental organizations and educational institutions to accomplish these objectives. The Observatory site is the Lake Erie marsh region of northwest Ohio, but its activities are not geographically limited. These wetlands are known for their wildlife year around. More than 230 species have been documented in this region, and more than 150,000 birds have been banded in BSBO's research projects.

Reserves

Aullwood Audubon Center

Website

Satellite View

Aullwood is an environmental education centre in western Ohio. We are an Audubon Centre of the National Audubon Society. Our goal is to promote the protection of birds, other wildlife and the habitats on which they depend. Aullwood offers both children and adults the opportunity to experience and appreciate the world through experience-based education. Come see our woods, streams, ponds, prairies, meadows, and our education centre and organic farm.

Crane Creek State Park

Webpage

Satellite View

Located on the scenic shore of Lake Erie, Crane Creek State Park offers a vast freshwater marsh and spacious sandy beach for enjoyment. This coastal environment is home to more than 300 species of birds. Herons, waterfowl, warblers, gulls and the magnificent bald eagle make this park one of the best birdwatching areas in the country.

East Harbor State Park

Webpage

Satellite View

Large numbers of ducks, geese, gulls, terns and other migratory waterfowl delight birdwatchers. Middle Harbour is a game sanctuary where black-crowned night herons, egrets, great blue herons and other shorebirds find refuge. Furbearers in the park include muskrat and red fox. Hundreds of migrating songbirds rest here before winging north across the lake…

Gilmore Ponds Conservancy

Webpage

Satellite View

Nearly hidden by an industrial park and an airport, Gilmore Ponds Interpretive Preserve provides over 200 acres of marsh, ponds, and other wetland wildlife habitat. This wildlife oasis lies entirely within the boundaries of the city of Hamilton Ohio, just north of Cincinnati. Each spring and fall the ponds teem with migratory waterfowl and songbirds…

Kelleys Island

Website

Satellite View

With a land mass of twenty-eight hundred acres (four square miles) and almost eighteen miles of shoreline, Kelleys Island is the largest American island situated in the western basin of Lake Erie. Located three and one half miles north of Marblehead, Ohio, its latitude is forty-one degrees thirty-five minutes north and eighty-two degrees forty-two minutes west.

Ottawa NWR

Webpage

Satellite View

The Ottawa NWR Complex is a major feeding, nesting, and resting area for migrating birds. The refuge preserves portions of the historic Lake Erie marshes and Great Black Swamp habitats. Ottawa NWR Complex is comprised of three refuges - Cedar Point NWR, Ottawa NWR and West Sister Island NWR. West Sister Island NWR, is Ohio's only wilderness area and is located about 9 miles offshore in Lake Erie…

Rowe Woods - Cincinnati Nature Center

Website

Satellite View

Located in the Eastgate area, just east of Milford, Rowe Woods consists of 1,025 acres of fields, forest, ponds and streams. This original Cincinnati Nature Center site boasts more than 16 miles of hiking trails for visitors to explore and enjoy…

Springfield Bog Metro Park

Webpage

Satellite View

Springfield Bog Metro Park opened January 5, 2011. Over the last few years, visitors have seen quite a change as more than 40 varieties of prairie plants have transformed the former farmland into a thriving prairie. Creating valuable habitat for grassland bird species. So why a prairie? The Continental Divide, which runs through part of the park, separates which way water flows: water to the north flows towards Lake Erie, while water to the south flows to the Ohio River. Ohio’s early land surveys showed prairies near bogs along the Continental Divide. Since the park has remnant bogs and the Divide within its boundaries, it made sense to recreate the prairie habitat.

State Parks

Website

Clickable maps…

Blogs

Abe Lincoln

Blog

My Birds Blog is about the birds that come and go here in my backyard. All of the photos that I take are of them, up close and personal. I began making my backyard into a wildlife sanctuary in 1962 and am still working on it…

Bill of the Birds

Blog

My name is Bill and I am a bird watcher…

Bird With Me

Blog

Out of a love and awe of birds I started Bird With Me to share insights and pictures with the goal of inspiring others to enter into the world of birding…

Birds from behind – Dave Lewis

Blog

Somehow, I've become known for getting the wrong end of a bird more often than shooting the 'proper' portrait of our little friends. I try to wait for a nice profile, butt, it just doesn't seem to work out that way. For awhile, I was getting frustrated being the butt of fellow birder's jokes. Butt now it's become my goal when out birding. I'm sure I can use the term 'butt' a few more times, butt I'll quit.

Donald the Birder

Blog

I started birding around the age of 12. I enjoy birds and the outdoors, especially showing young people and others the many wonders of nature…

Greg Miller Birding

Blog

A birding site by one of the guys from The Big Year (book & movie)…

Julie Zickefoose

Blog

Life and times of this wildlife writer…

Nomadic Birder - Ethan Kistler

Blog

An Ohio native, I currently live in Cape Town, South Africa where I'm attending the University of Cape Town and joining Tropical Birding as a guide…

Ohio Birds & Biodiversity - Jim McCormac

Blog

I am a lifelong Ohioan who has made a study of natural history since the age of eight or so - longer than I can remember! A fascination with birds has grown into an amazement with all of nature, and an insatiable curiosity to learn more. One of my major ambitions is to get more people interested in nature. The more of us who care, the more likely that our natural world will survive…

Susan Williams

Blog

My observations and musings about birding with two small kids, living with 13 pets and 1 husband, native plants of Ohio, the environment, and my life in all it's humor…

Other Links

Bird Watcher's Digest

Website

Based in Marietta; Ohio. Expert advice on birdwatching, birding, backyard bird feeding, bird gardening, bird identification, bird travel and cool birding products. The editors of Bird Watcher's Digest invite you to experience the joy and passion of bird watching and to learn the best birding how-to tips from the experts…
Fatbirder Recommended

Birding in Cincinnati

Website

The Cincinnati Bird Club is devoted to the active pursuit of the pastime/hobby/sport - call it what you will - of birding. If you`re a birder, you know what it is. If you`re not, just look around here a bit, and then join us in some of the activities that the Bird Club or other organizations offer. Be careful, though. You just might get hooked, like the rest of us did, and find yourself spending entirely too much time on birds. An excellent site that doesn`t take itself too seriously.

Birding News Around Ohio

Webpage

Rare bird alerts etc…

Birds of Ohio

Website

Birds of Ohio is a website about Ohio Birds that includes Bird ID's, feeding information, recipes for suet and sugar water and much more…

Borror Laboratory of Bioacoustics

Website

Central Ohio Rare Bird Alert

Website

Typical entry… At the Greenlawn Dam on the 20th there were Ring-billed and Herring Gulls, Canada Geese, Common Goldeneyes, Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Ducks, and a Canvasback. Other birds seen there recently include: Canvasback, Redheads, and Hooded Mergansers.

Four Nature's Keepers - Jack Hanna Premium Wild Bird Food

Website

We are a manufacturer of premium wild bird food cakes, stixs, crumbles, dough and other specialty wild bird food products…

Gerubco

Website

Mealworms, feed and feeders etc…

Ohio Birds

Website

Ohiobirds.com is part of the Birdzilla.com network of Web sites. You can visit the Birdzilla Web site or one of our other networked sites for even more wild bird information…

Ohio Hotspots

Website

Sites, reports etc…

Photographers & Artists

Photographer - Robert Royse

Gallery

Welcome to Robert Royse's photograph and birding pages - Stunning images and useful infomation including diary and trip reports.