Each month, our OOS Regional Directors are sharing their favorite birding hotspots in their respective regions – and beyond. These include some well-know destinations, specialty spots for specific species, and their own secret, treasured local patches. Have a favorite birding location? Reach out to your OOS Regional Director and let them know!
Kandace Glanville – Central Regional Director
Glen Echo Park – Franklin County
Amy Downing – Northeast Regional Director
Cricket Frog Cove – Slippery Elm Trail in Wood County
In mid-spring migration my only secret to finding large pockets of warblers (besides luck) is daily birding no matter how much time you have. Go to your hot spots and waterways close to home one or two times a day at dawn and late afternoon to catch their prime feeding times. All day birding is even better! One of my favorites is Wood County’s Slippery Elm Trail which is a reclaimed railway; along this trail I specifically enjoy Cricket Frog Cove. Blue-winged, Common Yellowthroat, Ovenbird, and Chestnut-sided Warblers among many others have been seen recently, but in the meadows and along the trails into later spring and summer I hope to see Dicksissel, Savannah Sparrow, and I’m hopeful for Henslow’s and LeConte’s Sparrows in this prime sparrow habitat. The Slippery Elm Trail is 13+ miles and beautiful throughout with smooth-paved parking and wide/even blacktop trail, and the optional side paths like Cricket Frog Cove are compacted dirt or stone with some paths being uneven grass for a more challenging hike.
Two word take away in May: Daily Birding!
Jon Cefus – East Central Regional Director
Various Jefferson County Locations
This month, I will be birding in Jefferson County, which is in eastern Ohio and is bordered by the Ohio River. I will be birding two areas that are adjacent to each other. For grassland species like Henslow’s and Grasshopper Sparrows, I will be exploring Mingo Grasslands. Just north of Mingo, is Fernwood State Forest with trails through woodland habitat in a reclaimed mining area. In 2008, the first confirmed breeding record of Common Ravens in Ohio was discovered at Fernwood State Forest! At one time, Common Ravens had been extirpated from our state. For more information, check out the Birding in Ohio website.
Tyler Ficker – Southwest Regional Director
Indian Creek Wildlife Area – Brown County
While May can be very good in most parts of Ohio, I was thoroughly impressed by the diversity of Indian Creek Wildlife Area in Brown County! One morning in peak migration yielded 95 species in just a few hours. This park has a nice mudflat area that draws in shorebirds as well as great wooded and grassland area, making the bird diversity excellent all spring!
Melissa Wales – Southeast Regional Director
Cucumbertree Trail – Athens County
This is probably my very favorite place to bird in Athens County in spring, because – Cerulean Warblers! Inconspicuously located just off the main commercial district, it’s a hidden gem – especially for neotropical migrants and residents in spring! Take E. State Street to the Walmart stoplight and turn left (unnamed street by the Ohio University Credit Union and Friendly Paws). Follow this road until it dead ends at a small public parking lot. You’ll see the trail head with a No Hunting sign. Entering the trail, listen for White-eyed, Red-eyed and Yellow-throated Vireo, and Yellow-throated Warbler and keep your eyes and ears open for possible migrants like Nashville, Tennessee, and Canada Warbler as you move along. Soon you will hear Worm-eating Warbler, Ovenbird, and Louisiana Waterthrush along with American Redstart, Cerulean Warbler, Hooded Warbler, and Northern Parula, which can be found in greater numbers further along the trail, especially if you end up at the big bridge and continue left up the hill to the Rockhouse/Trace Trail. This trail system is connected to Strouds Run and you can continue in many directions for Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Black-throated Green, Blackburnian, Scarlet Tanager, and so much more! This trail is not accessible for those with mobility concerns, but even sitting in the parking lot can yield some excellent birds. Happy Spring Migration!