Birding Spots in Ohio

The Guide to Birding in Butler County

Birding hot spots, top tips, and important information!

 Our parks and wildlife areas are home to an enormous amount of birds, making Butler County a great place for birding. Whether you are a birdwatcher or photographer, below you'll find everything you need. Here is your complete guide to birding in Butler County, Ohio!

For First Time Birders

Mike and Marianne Gorman have been residents of Butler County for 28 years, and have been birding in the area for 10 years. The couple loves to travel together, birdwatching and taking photos. Sometimes they are able to birdwatch in their own backyard; capturing photos of birds like the Rose Breasted Grosbeak below. 

Rose Breasted Grosbeak, Butler County Ohio

"My tips for others wanting to get started bird-watching is to go for a walk in one of our excellent Butler County parks, keeping your eyes and ears open for movement, sound, and flight. A pair of binoculars is very helpful for bird identification, and also just to observe birds and their behavior from a distance that doesn’t threaten the birds. We have a bunch of feeders in our yard to attract birds year round and to help them make it through the winter when food is scarce. Harbin Park offers an Owl Prowl in the winter, and migratory bird walks in the Spring & Fall with MetroPark naturalists," Marianne says.

Below you can find a variety of Birding Hot Spots in Butler County, Ohio.

Ellis Lake Wetlands 

This park is a great place to visit and spot some beautiful birds. It was a project that was designed specifically to improve water quality in the Mill Creek, reduce flooding, provide aquatic and terrestrial habitats, and passive recreation. You can find parking at the end of Firebird Drive (running north off of Union Center Boulevard between OH-4 and OH-747) past the bike trail crossing. Here is a sampling of what you can find:

Blue Grosbeak ● Photo by Mike Gorman

Blue Grosbeak, Ellis Lake Wetlands

Cattle Egrets ● Photo by Mike Gorman 

Cattle Egrets, Ellis Lake Wetlands

Little Blue Heron ● Photo by Mike Gorman

Little Blue Heron, Ellis Lake Wetlands

Great Egrets ● Photo by Mike Gorman

Great Egrets, Ellis Lake Wetlands

Forest Run MetroPark

Located in Ross, this 342 acre park includes a variety of natural landscapes and habitats with plenty of opportunities to birdwatch. Motor vehicle permits are required to enter Forest Run MetroPark. The Butler County MetroParks are open to the public and free to visit. Here is a sampling of what you can find:

Brown Thrasher ● Photo by Mike Gorman

Brown Thrasher, Forest Run MetroPark

Eastern Bluebird ● Photo by Mike Gorman

Eastern Bluebird, Forest Run MetroPark

Gilmore MetroPark

Here you can find three trails for hiking, as well as an observation tower and two raised decks that provide good vantage points. This 200 acre park does have seasonal flooding; depending on water levels, the Cattail Marsh area can be good for waterfowl, herons and egrets or shorebirds.There are two paved parking lots on Gilmore Road and Symmes Road. Here is a sampling of what you can find:

Baltimore Oriole ● Photo by Mike Gorman

Baltimore Oriole, Gilmore MetroPark

Horned Owl ● Photo by Mike Gorman

Horned Owl, Gilmore MetroPark

Black Crowned Night Heron ● Photo by Mike Gorman

Black Crowned Night Heron, Gilmore MetroPark

Black Throated Green Warbler ● Photo by Mike Gorman

Black Throated Green Warbler, Gilmore MetroPark

Least Bittern | Photo by Mike Gorman

Least Bittern, Gilmore MetroPark

Great Miami River Trail

This trail runs for 75 miles along the Great Miami River, through the cities of Hamilton, Middletown and Fairfield. The river is home to a wide variety of birds, including our Bald Eagle couple Ralph and AliceHere is a sampling of what you can find:

Bald Eagle ● Photo by David Downie

Bald Eagles, Great Miami River

Long Tailed Duck ● Photo by Mike Gorman

Long Tailed Duck, Great Miami River

Rentschler Forest MetroPark

This 400+ acre park is home to a large selection of hiking trails, views of the Great Miami River, plenty of woodland, remnants of the old Miami-Erie Canal, a prehistoric Indian earthwork, and a reconstructed wetland. Motor vehicle permits are also required to enter. Here is a sampling of what you can find:

Cedar Waxwings ● Photo by Mike Gorman

Cedar Waxwings, Rentschler Forest

Voice of America MetroPark

Here you can find a paved walking trail along a large lake. The best bet for birding is to enter off of Cox Road, and take the first road on the right all the way back behind the VOA building. There is also a modest wetland on the southwest corner of the property. Here is a sampling of what you can find:

Bobolink ● Photo by Mike Gorman

Bobolink, VOA MetroPark

Sora ● Photo by Mike Gorman

Sora, VOA MetroPark

Yellow Crowned Night Heron ● Photo by Mike Gorman

Yellow Crowned Night Heron, VOA MetroPark

More Birding Hot Spots

  1. Riverside Natural Area | Hamilton, Ohio
  2. Miami River County Park | Middletown, Ohio
  3. Harbin Park | Fairfield, Ohio
  4. Bulls Run Arboretum | Middletown, Ohio
  5. Governor Bebb Metropark | Okeana, Ohio
  6. IKEA Mill Creek Pond | West Chester, Ohio
  7. Miami University | Oxford, Ohio
  8. Joyce Park | Fairfield, Ohio

Special thanks to Mike and Marianne Gorman, as well as Birding in Ohio by the Ohio Ornithological Society!