Local Places to Bird Watch in Springboro & West Chester
E. Milo Beck Park
This 85 acre park in Springboro is a 'passive' park, which means it is there strictly for walking and not for organized sports, but ideal for bird watching! While the majority of the park is meadow, it is bordered by Clear Creek to the west and south offering further diversity of plants and wildlife.More than 100 different species of birds have been identified in the park. Wild Birds Unlimited in Springboro is managing the more than 15 bird houses located throughout the park where Eastern Bluebirds, Tree Swallows, Chickadees, and Wrens nest yearly. A 1.5 mile walking path circles the park and can be accessed from the parking lot.
E. Milo Beck Park is located on Lower Springboro road at the south end of Pioneer Blvd off Route 73.
Cox Arboretum is a 189-acre facility that contains significant natural areas including mature forests, dense cedar glades, planted tall-grass prairies, and created wetlands. There are 3.5 miles (5.6 km) of walking trails.
The Arboretum also has several specialty gardens - water, perennial, rock, shrub, edible landscape, ornamental grass collection, woodland wildflowers and a conifer collection. At the top of one of its newest features, a 46 foot Tree Tower, visitors can see the Arboretum grounds as well as the surrounding area.
Location: 6733 Springboro Pike, Dayton, Ohio
From the South - Take I-75 North to OH-725 Exit 44 (to Miamisburg/Centerville Rd.). Turn right at Miamisburg/Centerville Rd., then turn left at Springboro Pike. Go 1.0 miles and turn left into the Arboretum.
From the North: Take I-75 South to OH-741 S exit 50B. Turn left at Springboro Rd, go 1.0 miles.
Continue left onto Springboro Pike, go 3.8 miles. Turn right into the Arboretum at 6733 Springboro Pike.
Spring ValleyWildlife Area
Although relatively small (842 acres), Spring Valley Wildlife Area contains an intricate assemblage of upland hardwoods, old fields, brushy brambles, grassland, cropland, dense hedgerows, bottomland hardwoods, open water marsh, and wetlands. Much of the bird watching activity is centered around the marsh, which consists of 70 acres of open water and 82 acres of a complex variety of wetland communities.
More than 230 species of birds have been identified at Spring Valley Wildlife Area, with at least 74 confirmed nesting species. Virtually all of Ohio's common inland avian residents, as well as typical Ohio migrants, are represented.
A 2.5 mile observation trail circles the marsh and provides relatively dry walking. A boardwalk extends 655 feet into the marsh, ending in a 13-foot-tall observation tower. This structure provides safe access into the marsh without disturbing the delicate wetland ecosystem.
From SR 725, east of SR 48, go 9.7 miles and turn right (south) onto US 42. Go 1.7 miles and turn left (east) onto Roxanna-New Burlington Road, then go 1.5 miles to Pence Jones Road. Turn right (south) onto Pence Jones Road and go 0.3 miles to an unmarked parking lot on the right side to go to the boardwalk and observation tower. (An unmarked trail leads from the south side of the parking lot to the boardwalk).
Germantown Metro Park
This is a 1400-acre park, bisected by Twin Creek with flood plain forest along the stream. The western part of the park is open meadow. The rest of the park is made up of hills and valleys covered with mature beech and maple forest, and includes stands of evergreens and Red Cedars. Over ten miles of trails provide access to most areas of the park.
The combination of mature upland and riparian woodlands, and open fields, attract many breeding species, including American Woodcock, Barred Owl, Pileated Woodpecker, Brown Thrasher, and a good assortment of Wood-Warblers, including Northern Parula, Yellow-throated, Prairie, Cerulean, Louisiana Waterthrush, Kentucky, and Hooded. The large number of evergreens attract Red-breasted Nuthatches, Purple Finches, Pine Siskins, and an occasional Crossbill. Germantown MetroPark is one of the best places in the area to see Summer Tanagers.
The Nature Center is underground, with a window for viewing birds and other wild animals that regularly visit the feeders provided by the staff. Trails are marked with color-coded posts. Many trails are loops. Follow the same color posts and you will end your hike where you started.
From I-75 take the SR 725 exit. Go west on SR 725 for 11.8 miles (through Germantown) to Boomershine Rd. and turn right. Then go 1 mile to the park entrance and Nature Center on the right.
Sugarcreek Metro Park
Sugarcreek Metro Park is 600 acres in size and surrounds a long stretch of Sugar Creek and has preserved both riparian and upland woodlands. A tall grass prairie has been created from what was once farm land. An excellent system of trails crisscrosses the park and leads to "the Three Sisters", three giant 550-year-old oak trees. Sugarcreek MetroPark is also a favorite place for finding wildflowers, both along the creek and in the prairie.
Common nesting species are well represented at Sugarcreek, and include Barred Owls and Eastern Screech-Owls, Pileated Woodpeckers, Red-eyed and White-eyed Vireos, Northern Parula, Yellow-throated, Cerulean, and Kentucky Warblers, Louisiana Waterthrush, Yellow-breasted Chat, Common Yellowthroat, and Indigo Bunting. During both spring and fall migration, a large variety of warblers is often found, including unusual species such as Orange-crowned, Canada, Connecticut, and Mourning Warblers. Most rarities seen have been flying over, and include Black Vulture, Bald Eagle, and Red-shouldered Hawk.
Sugarcreek MetroPark has five miles of scenic walking/hiking trails, well maintained and well marked. Trails are marked with color-coded posts. All colored trails are loops; follow the same color to arrive back at your starting point. Trails are open year-round for hiking, and in winter for cross-country snow skiing.
From SR 725, 2.4 miles east of SR 48, turn right (south) onto Wilmington- Dayton Rd. Go 1.6 miles to the first 3-way stop. Continue straight across the intersection onto Conference Rd. and go 0.2 miles to the park entrance on the left.
Caesar Creek State Park
The centerpiece of Caesar Creek State Park is Caesar Creek Lake. There is a wildlife area on both sides of the lake. At the south end of the lake, below the dam, is Caesar Creek Gorge State Nature Preserve, which was created by Ohio's glaciers and features a 180-foot deep gorge displaying unique geologic formations. The area is surrounded by dense woodlands.
Fall, winter (when the lake is not frozen), and early spring are all good for finding migrant waterbirds. Both Bald Eagles and Ospreys are often seen fishing in the lake. Many other species can be found in the land surrounding the lake, including American Woodcock, Short-eared Owl, Red-headed Woodpecker, Tree Swallow, and Eastern Bluebird. Winter feeders, including Purple Finches, Common Redpolls, and Pine Siskins, can be found on the feeders at the Nature Center. Bird feeders are maintained year round by the staff at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Visitor Center and the Nature Center.
There are forty-three miles of hiking trails in the park, thirty-one miles of bridle trails, and a five-mile mountain bike trail.
Take SR 73, 5.7 miles east of SR 48, to Clarksville Rd. Turn right (south) onto Clarksville Rd. and go 2.3 miles to the US Army Corps of Engineers Visitor Center on the left. Or continue 0.1 miles, turn right at the sign, and go 0.8 miles to the Caesar Creek Gorge parking lot.
Aullwood Audubon Center & Farm
Aullwood Audubon Center & Farm is a regional nature center owned and operated by the National Audubon Society. About 200 acres in size, Aullwood includes a tall grass prairie, extensive woodlands, evergreen groves, and several streams, marshy areas, and ponds.
About 200 species of birds have been recorded at Aullwood since it was established. Both spring and fall provide excellent chances to catch many migrants on their journey through the refuge, including the rarely seen Golden-winged, Connecticut, and Mourning Warblers.
An excellent system of 5 miles of trails allow access throughout the refuge. The nature center facility, open to the public, includes very active bird feeders which can be viewed from indoors through a large window.
Aullwood Audubon Center & Farm is about 15.6 miles northwest of downtown Dayton. From the intersection of I-75 and U.S. 35, take I-75 north 10.0 miles to U.S.40, then go left (west) on U. S. 40 for 5.6 miles to the Center entrance on the left. (The entrance is directly across U.S.40 from the Englewood MetroPark entrance.) An entrance fee of $4.00 for adults (over 18) and $2.00 for children (2 to 18) is charged. (Friends of Aullwood and National Audubon Society members are admitted free.