Birding at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge

Oak Harbor, Ohio

Visiting this Site

Site Maps & Info

Information about this site.

Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge

General Information


14000 OH-2, Oak Harbor, OH 43449


Lucas, Ottawa

DeLorme Page Number and Coordinates

(7th Edition and earlier) Pg 27: C7

Nearest Town or City

Oak Harbor, Ohio.

Directions from Nearest Town or City

From Oak Harbor go north on Route 19 for 6 miles to Route 2. Turn west and drive 3 miles to the Refuge entrance.

About Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge

The main division of the ONWR complex has 4,683 acres managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service from a headquarters building located adjacent to a public parking lot located at the end of the entrance road from Ohio Route 2. This area has nine miles of improved stone-base public trails. A kiosk in the parking lot has maps and bird checklists. Walk north on the trail from the parking lot and you will eventually reach Crane Creek and its estuary. Ducks, shorebirds, marsh birds, wading birds and some perching birds can be viewed in the impoundments along the way. The Crane Creek estuary is the best place to see both adult and immature Bald Eagles. Although woodlands are scarce there are two woodlots that provide warblers, vireos and other perching birds during migration. There are grasslands accessible between the parking lot and Route 2, which can provide members of the blackbird and sparrow families. A newer trail runs east/west and connects ONWR with the Magee Marsh causeway. Look for it on the east side of the driveway to the headquarters building.

Visiting Information

Closed hours/season

Sunrise to sunset throughout the year. Headquarters and bookstore open Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. The bookstore is operated by the ONWRA also has gifts and toys.

Parking Areas

The main parking lot is at the end of the entrance road off of Route 2.


There are no fees. A permit (educational/scientific only) is needed for closed areas including West Sister Island.

Restroom Facilities

Chemical toilets are located at the main parking lot.

Harmful Insects, Poisonous Plants, or Animals

Poison Ivy.

Restaurants in the Area

Blackberry Corners located at the corner of SR 579 and Elliston Road.

Other Useful Information

There are two good ways of entering closed areas legally without a permit. 1. Attend the monthly bird survey on the first Sunday of every month at 8:00 a.m. starting from the Refuge main parking lot. 2. Attend the monthly Refuge auto tour through the closed areas. See the ONWRA website for schedule.

Other Birding Spots in the Area

Magee Marsh WA adjoins OWNR on the east. Mallard Club Marsh WA, Metzger Marsh, and Maumee Bay SP are all to the west.

Birds of Interest by Season


Northern Shrikes, Tundra Swans, Snow Geese, Bald Eagles.


Ducks (including Eurasian Wigeons), Snowy Egrets, Little Blue Herons, Bald Eagles, migrating raptors, marsh birds.


Common Moorhens, Common/Black Terns, Snowy Egrets, Bald Eagles, shorebirds, bitterns.


Bald Eagles, most duck species, shorebirds.

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