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Ohio Birding Sites > Birding Site


Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge


Site Location Information

Address: 140000 W. State Route 2, Oak Harbor, OH 43449

County/Counties: Lucas, Ottawa

DeLorme page number and letter/number coordinates: (7th Edition and earlier) Pg 27: C7

GPS Coordinates:

Nearest town or city: Oak Harbor

Distance and direction from nearest town/city: 6 miles north and 3 miles west

Directions to site from nearest town/city of at least moderate size: From Oak Harbor go north on Route 19 for 6 miles to Route 2. Turn west and drive 3 miles to the Refuge entrance.


Links to Websites

Best source of a website map for this location, and any comments on map quality: http://www.bsbo.org/birding/pdf/OttawaNWRMap-Overview.pdf (Park map created by BSBO)
http://www.bsbo.org/birding/pdf/OttawaNWRMap-AutoTour.pdf (Auto Tour map created by BSBO)
http://www.bsbo.org/birding/pdf/OttawaNWR-Trails.pdf (Trail map created by BSBO)

Website links to general information about this site: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/ottawa/ (Ottawa NWR website)
http://www.onwra.com/ (Ottawa NWR Association website)


Site Description

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.


Birds of Interest - Seasonal Specialties

Winter: Northern Shrikes, Tundra Swans, Snow Geese, Bald Eagles

Spring: ducks (including Eurasian Wigeons), Snowy Egrets, Little Blue Herons, Bald Eagles, migrating raptors, marsh birds

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

Fall: Bald Eagles, most duck species, shorebirds


General Information For This Area

Closed hours/season: Sunrise to sunset throughout the year; headquarters and bookstore open Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 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.

Fees/Permits: 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.

Special Notes:

Harmful insects, poisonous plants or animals: None.

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 www.onwra.com for the schedule).


Other Birding Opportunities 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.


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