Birding at Voice of America ParkWestchester, Ohio
Visiting this Site
Site Maps & Info
Information about this site.
Voice of America Park
7850 VOA Park Drive, Westchester, OH 45069
DeLorme Page Number and Coordinates
(7th Edition and earlier) p. 75:B4/5
Nearest Town or City
West Chester, Ohio.
Directions from Nearest Town or City
From Dayton or Cincinnati, take I-75 to Exit 22 (Tylersville Road) in West Chester. Turn east onto Tylersville Road and take Tylersville Road to Cox Road. Left (north) onto Cox Road. The VOA entrance is about ½ mile down Cox Road on the right side, just after the Target shopping plaza. Butler County MetroParks has an entrance off of Hamilton-Mason Road, which is another half mile north on Cox Road. You can also access the MetroParks parking for Freedom’s Voice Reserve lot by turning left after you enter the Cox Road entrance.
About Voice of America Park
Most of the trails are mowed grass. There is a paved walking trail along the lake, and old, rudimentary paved roads in the interior of the park. These roads can also be driven, allowing for viewing of the fields. The West Chester portion of the VOA occasionally closes without notice for various athletic tournaments and festivals, primarily in the summer.
The best bet for summer—and winter—birding is to enter off of Cox Road, and take the first road on the right all the way back behind the VOA building. Find a parking spot somewhere along the roadway opposite the first baseball diamond you come to, and head out into the fields to the north of the roadway. From here, various mowed trails and very basic and rough roads wind through the areas the birds most often use. The east edge of the park, near the area called “Wiggly Field” (a dog exercise area) is also good for summer grassland birds.
There is a modest wetland on the southwest corner of the property, between the VOA building and the earthen berm around the Target shopping center. This occasionally has some interesting birds, and is worth walking through if one has the time. There are no trails in this section, so be prepared for water, mud, bugs, etc.
Open daily 7:00 am until dark. West Chester occasionally closes their portion of the park for some festivals and sporting events.
Paved parking lots just off of Cox and Hamilton-Mason Roads. Gravel parking pull-offs are available throughout the park, near the various recreational fields.
Available at park.
Harmful Insects, Poisonous Plants, or Animals
Ticks in summer. Poison ivy in the fields. Dogs are supposed to be kept on leashes within the park, but few people follow the rules.
There are various model rocket and remote controlled airplane clubs using the site, so occasionally things of that nature will be flying around. Mosquitoes are sometimes an annoyance in the evening.
Restaurants in the Area
All sorts of fast food is available on Tylersville Road. There is a Panera Bread and a Chipotle in the Target Plaza adjacent to the VOA.
Other Useful Information
If the Voice of America building is open for tours, it’s worth checking out. When the VOA was broadcasting from the site during World War II, Adolf Hitler is said to have called the broadcasters who worked out of the building “The Cincinnati liars.” In time, they plan to have a full-scale museum inside the VOA building. At present, they have some displays which are open to the public from time to time, and there’s an historical plaque inside the entrance to the VOA building, which was placed at the VOA during Ohio’s bicentennial. There is an active radio broadcasting club and a veteran’s club that spend a lot of time promoting the site. For ham radio or history buffs, it’s worth a visit to the VOA building.
Other Birding Spots in the Area
Gilmore Ponds in Hamilton; Cincinnati-area sites such as Spring Grove Cemetery and Miami-Whitewater Forest & Wetlands; To the north are Spring Valley and Caesar’s Creek. All those sites are within reasonable driving time from the VOA. If you have the time, almost any site in the Cincinnati or Dayton area is a possible target from the VOA.
Birds of Interest by Season
Wintering short-eared owls, occasionally northern harriers, and once in a while a rough-legged hawk. There’s usually a group of a dozen or more eastern meadowlarks that overwinter. During hard cold and snowy spells, snow buntings and possibly Lapland longspurs use the area, but birders need to do some work to produce some records of those birds and to figure out how and when they use the site.
Just about anything can fall out of the sky into the fields when the conditions are right. Recent sightings include white-faced ibis in 2002, a willet in 2001. Soras are often found in wet ditches and flooded areas in May. Woodcocks and Wilson’s snipes are plentiful in migration. The bobolinks and other grassland specialists start showing up in numbers in early May.
Bobolinks, Henslow’s sparrows, savannah sparrows, eastern meadowlarks, occasionally breeding sedge wrens.
Occasionally a late grassland migrant. Vesper sparrows and other such species are possible if one works the fields thoroughly. Definitely, summer, and to a lesser extent winter, are “peak” seasons at the VOA.