Birding Areas

Castalia State Fish Hatchery

7018 Homegardner Rd., Castalia · 419-684-7499
Open Monday through Friday from 8am-3pm. Managed by Ohio Division of Wildlife.
With open water year-round, this birding site deserves your attention. As part of the Castalia Blue Hole system of underground springs, the area provides a unique birding experience. With the available supply of fish, herons and egrets are common. Portable rest rooms April through October.
From Route 2, exit Route 6 Sandusky/Fremont exit, and follow Route 6 east towards Sandusky. Almost immediately, turn right on Bardshar Rd. and follow to Homegardner Rd. Turn right (west) onto Homegardner Rd. Watch for signs.

Castalia Pond

Route 269, Castalia · 419-625-7783
Open 8am to dusk, year-round. Managed by Erie MetroParks.
This 12-acre pond is at its best from late fall to early spring when waterfowl species head to its open waters. Ample parking at either end of pond.
From Route 2 or 6, take Route 269 into Castalia.

Castalia Quarry Reserve

Castalia · 419-625-7783
Open 8am to dusk, year-round. Managed by Erie MetroParks.
The Castalia Quarry Reserve is an abandoned limestone quarry surrounded by forest and fields. The Quarry Rim Trail offers excellent views of migrating raptors plus habitats for smaller birds. Trails on the north side of Route 101 just off the parking lot are good places to see migrating wetland species. A walk-up observation tower allows broad landscape views of raptors and other passing birds.
Restrooms open seasonally, two miles of natural and gravel trails.
Located on Route 101, two miles west of Castalia.

The Coupling Reserve

11618 Route 13, Milan Township · 419-625-7793
Open 8am to dusk, year-round. Managed by Erie MetroParks.
The Huron River and its floodplain are the highlights of this park area. It is an excellent place to view spring and fall migrations, as well as water birds. Portable restroom in season, reservable overnight accommodations, nature trails.
Located on Route 13, between Mason Road and U.S. Rt. 250.

Dupont Marsh and Huron River Greenway

Huron · 419-25-7783
Open 8am to dusk, year-round. Managed by Erie MetroParks.
Dupont Marsh has excellent views of marshland along the Huron River. A variety of woodland species can be found along the Huron River Greenway and in the woods adjacent to the marsh. Portable restrooms in season, nature trails.
Located on River Road, south of Cleveland Road East (Route 6).

East Harbor State Park

1169 N. Buck Rd., Marblehead · 419-734-4424
Located on the shores of Lake Erie, East Harbor offers a variety of birding habitats.
With over seven miles of trails winding through meadows, woods and wetlands, the visitor is able to view migratory waterfowl and shorebirds in addition to local species. Restrooms, camping, boat dockage, beach.
From Route 2, exit on Route 269 north, towards Marblehead. Follow signs.

Edison Woods Preserve

Berlin Heights · 419-625-7783
Open 8am to dusk, year-round. Managed by Erie MetroParks.
Edison Woods Preserve is comprised of marshy meadows and wet-woods, and it's an excellent place to view the spring neo-tropical migration. Nesting species include blue-winged and yellow warblers, ovenbirds, scarlet tanagers, and rose-breasted grosbeaks. Over 300 acres of tall grass prairie were planted in fall of 2002 and will provide large native meadows. Portable restroom May through October, six miles of hiking paths, plus bridle trails.
From Route 2, exit south on Route 61. Edison Woods is located two miles south of Route 2.

Hoffman Forest Reserve

5313 Huff Rd., Berlin Township · 419-625-7783
Open 8am to dusk, year-round. Managed by Erie MetroParks.
Hoffman Forest Reserve contains dense mixed forest along with a creek bed and a large meadow/old field area. Seasonal portable restrooms, nature trails.
Located on Huff Road, between Arlington and Chapin Roads.

Huron Harbor and Pier

This mile-long pier attracts large concentrations of gulls, Caspian and common terns and blackbirds.
From Route 6, turn north on Center Street to Wall Street. Turn right on Wall Street, then left on Main Street. The pier is at the end of Main Street.

Kelleys Island

419/746-2258 or 419-746-2360
Self-guided nature trails lead you along the North Pond Boardwalk, East Quarry Trail, North Shore Loop, and the Glacial Groove Trail. Warblers, ducks, sparrows, raptors, herons and shorebirds are among the 135 recorded species.
Ferryboat transportation from Sandusky is provided by the Jet Express, from Marblehead by the Kelleys Island Ferry Boat Line.

Magee Marsh Wildlife Area

13229 W. Route 2, Oak Harbor · 1-800-Wildlife (1-800-945-3543) or 419-898-0960 ext. 21
Open dawn to dusk, year-round. The Sportsmen's Migratory Bird Center is open year-round Monday - Friday, 8am to 5pm and on Saturdays and Sundays from March - November from 11am to 5pm, with special birding hours of 8am to 5pm on Saturdays during the months of April and May. Managed by Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife.
With more than 2,000 acres of prime habitats, and more than 300 species sighted in the past, Magee Marsh is an American birding "hot spot." The spring migration of warblers is spectacular; ducks, trumpeter swans, bald eagles, shorebirds, and raptors are also common.
Visitors center, drinking fountain, restrooms, indoor observation area, handicap accessible, 0.9 miles of boardwalk trail through emergent marsh and forested beach ridge, access is restricted during October through early December for deer and waterfowl hunts.
Located on Route 2, 17 miles west of Port Clinton, between Routes 19 and 590.

James H. McBride Arboretum

901 Rye Beach Rd., Huron · 419-625-7783
Open 8am to dusk, year-round. Managed by Erie MetroParks.
In addition to an arboretum, this site contains a woodlot that is an excellent place to see warblers and other neo-tropical birds in migration. Bluebird and other nest boxes can be found in the large meadows and other grassy areas. Arboretum, nature trails, reservable shelter.
From Route 2, exit at Rye Beach Road. Located behind the BGSU Firelands College campus.

Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area

Bono · 419-424-5000
Open dawn to dusk, year-round. Managed by Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife.
This 558-acre Lake Erie marsh provides a resting ground for spring and fall migrants. The marsh is a prime waterfowl area and has offered some great shorebirds as well. Look for warblers, thrushes, and sparrows in the trees and shrubs. Portable restrooms.
Located approximately 20 miles west of Port Clinton off Route 2. Area is adjacent to Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge.

Middle Bass Island

An ideal location for spotting birds. The 20-acre Kuehnle Wildlife Area is a unique wetland that provides a resting area for migrating birds.
Ferryboat transportation is available from Miller Boat Line off Route 53 in Catawba.

Old Woman Creek National Estuarine Research Reserve and State Nature Preserve

2514 Cleveland Rd. E. (Route 6), Huron · 419-433-4601
Hiking trails are open 8am to 5pm, daily. The visitors center is open Wednesday through Sunday, 1 to 5 pm (closed weekends January through March). Managed by Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Natural Areas and Preserves. As one of the Great Lakes' best remaining natural estuaries, Old Woman Creek attracts waterfowl, wading birds, raptors, and neo-tropical migrants. Strategically placed trails and observation areas afford excellent views of the estuary, surrounding uplands and near shore Lake Erie.
Visitors center; drinking fountain; restrooms; indoor viewing area; 1.25 miles of paved, natural and boardwalk trails; laboratories; classroom; reference library.
From Route 2, take the Route 61 exit and head north toward the lake. Turn left on Route 6. Old Woman Creek is located one mile west on Route 6.

Osborn Park

3910 E. Perkins Ave., Huron · 419-625-7783
Open 7am to dusk, year-round. Managed by Erie MetroParks.
Osborn Park's habitats include extensive meadows and two woodlots that harbor a variety of interesting species. Birdfeeders located in back of the administration building attract large numbers of birds during the winter months. Restrooms; handicap accessible; paved, grass and woodchip trails, including a half-mile handicap accessible loop.
From Route 2, exit Route 250 north. Turn right on East Perkins Avenue. Osborn Park in located nearly four miles on the right.

Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge

14000 W. State Route 2, Oak Harbor · 419-898-0014
Trails open dawn to dusk, year-round. Visitors center open Monday through Friday, 8am to 4pm. Managed by United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
The 8,316-acre refuge includes nine miles of hiking trails that wind through a variety of habitats that include marshes, uplands, and forested wetlands. Area bird watchers regard the refuge as one of the premier bird watching spots in the Midwest. Restrooms, visitors center, handicap accessible, seven miles of pressed gravel trails.
Located approximately 15 miles west of Port Clinton along Route 2.

Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area

3451 County Rd. 256, Vickery · 419-547-6007
Open dawn to dusk, year-round. Managed by Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife.
With its grasslands and flooded marshes, this 1,200-acre site attracts waterfowl during spring and fall migrations. Dikes running throughout the area permit the visitor to walk for miles in search of songbirds, shorebirds, and waterfowl. Visitors center, access is restricted certain times of the year.
Located on Route 6, nine miles west of Sandusky.

Pipe Creek Wildlife Area

Sandusky · 419-424-5000 (ask for Wildlife Management Division)
Open dawn to dusk, year-round. Managed by Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife.
This 100-acre wetland supports a large population of nesting common terns, an endangered species in Ohio. Good viewing opportunities are available along the flat-topped elevated dikes. Ducks and shorebirds are sure to be seen. Parking area, access is restricted certain times of the year.
From Route 6, turn north on the Cedar Point Causeway. Turn right on River Road at second traffic light.

Resthaven Wildlife Area

Castalia · 419-684-5049 (ask for Wildlife Management Division)
Open dawn to dusk, year-round. Managed by Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife.
The unique feature here is a large remnant prairie. Many foot trails allow the visitor to explore diverse habitats of this wildlife area, totaling more than 2,000 acres. Indigo buntings, woodcock, and ring-necked pheasant favor this area. Handicap fishing pier.
From Route 6, take 269 toward Castalia. Resthaven is located approximately three miles to the right.

Sandusky Harbor

A large herring gull breeding colony in and around Sandusky makes this species readily visible, as are large rafts of waterfowl, egrets, and night herons.
Handicap accessible, parking at pier and dock area.
From Route 6, turn north on Jackson Street. Follow to the Jackson Street Pier.

Schedel Arboretum and Garden

Elmore · 419-862-3182
Ornate Japanese gardens, with dozens of rare species, anchor this unique site. Seventeen acres of rose gardens, water gardens, perennial gardens, and 20,000 annuals is surrounded by acres of woodlands and the Portage River. Self-guided tours daily.
Restrooms, full-time staff, admission charges, tours of mansion available.
One mile off Ohio Turnpike at Exit 81 on S. Portage Rd. in Elmore.

Schoepfle Arboretum & Gardens

11106 Market St. (off Route 113), Birmingham · 440-965-7237
Open 8am to 5pm, daily. Visitors center open 10am to 5pm, Weds - Sun.
70 acres of botanical gardens and natural woodland bordered on one side by the Vermilion River. Gift shop, audio tours, meeting room.

Sheldon Marsh State Nature Preserve

2715 Cleveland Rd. (Route 6), Huron · 419-433-4601
Open dawn to dusk, year-round. managed by Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Natural Areas and Preserves.
Large numbers of birds move through this 386-acre marsh in spring. Habitats include sand spits, open waters, forests, and fields. Two miles of paved and natural trails.
From Route 2, take Rye Beach Road exit just west of Huron. Head north on Rye Beach Road to Route 6. Travel west (left) on Route 6 for approximately one-half mile. The main entrance is on the north (right) side of the road.

South Bass Island (Put-in-Bay)

Wetlands, bays, cliffs, lake waters, fields, thick woods, and wooded residential areas provide the background for spectacular birding.
Hot spots include Terwilliger's Pond, Fishery Bay, Oak Point, and Peach Point.
Ferryboat transportation provided by the Jet Express from Jackson Street Pier in Sandusky or from Route 163 in Port Clinton, or by Miller Boat Line off Route 53 in Catawba.

Vermilion River Reservation

Vermilion · 440-458-5121
Open 8am to dusk, year-round. Visitor center open 8am to 4:30pm, daily. Managed by Lorain Metro Parks.
Shale cliffs frame the beauty of this nature park. Birders find an amazing variety of species all seasons.
Restrooms; visitors center; drinking fountains; conference area; two miles of crushed stone, natural, and boardwalk trails, most are handicap accessible.
From Route 2, exit Sunnyside/Vermilion Road. Turn left on Vermilion Road and follow two miles to park.