Darke County Birding Drive

Ohio Birding Drives
Ohio Birding Drives are routes for birding trips which can be accomplished in one day, stopping to walk and bird at various eBird hotspots. For each birding drive, a Google map is provided with the route and suggested stops at eBird hotspots. You may save the link to the Google map on your smartphone or tablet, or print a copy on paper to take with you. Links are provided with information about each eBird hotspot. Follow those links for more information about birding each location.

Darke County Birding Drive
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This Birding Drive explores eBird hotspots in Darke County. When you submit checklists here you help to add to the data about birds in this region of Ohio.

Darke County

Darke Wildlife Area
New Harrison-Bradford Road
Bradford, Ohio 45308

From US-36 in New Harrison, go north on New Harrison-Bradford Road for .6 mile. Turn left into the parking area for the middle section of the Darke Wildlife Area. There are similar parking areas in each of the other two sections of this wildlife area.

This 316-acre wildlife area lies in the gently rolling farming region of east central Darke County. It is six miles east of Greenville on the north side of US-36. The area comprises three separate tracts of land. Most of the area is in meadow and grain crops intermixed with several small woodlots and scattered brushy coverts found mostly along Bolton Run, which meanders through the area.

The initial purchase of land for a public hunting and fishing area began in 1960. The area was acquired primarily for fishing; seven ponds ranging from 1.5 to 4.5 acres in size have been constructed. Wildlife cover conditions have been improved by the establishment of extensive meadow cover interspersed with grain crops, a portion of which are left standing each winter. Several thousand trees and shrubs have been planted to provide permanent wildlife cover.
From Darke Wildlife Area webpage

Routzong Preserve
5352 Routzong Road
Greenville, Ohio 45331

From Darke Wildlife Area, drive west on US-36 for 1.3 miles. Turn left onto Arcanum Bears Mill Road and drive 2.5 miles. Turn left onto OH-571 east and go 1.1 miles. Turn left onto Routzong Road and go .5 mile. Arrive at Routzong Preserve on the left.

From spectacular spring wildflowers to brilliant fall leaves, the Beech-Maple forest of Routzong Preserve makes it an area of interest during every season of the year. Visitors will find over 1.5 miles of trails to explore in this 55-acre park with countless opportunities to enjoy the many seasonal natural events. Ronnie and Betty Johnson donated a portion of this preserve to Darke County Parks. This park is also the site of the Trees for Tomorrow Memorial Trail.

The topography of the woodland is gently rolling so that small wet areas occur throughout. These wet areas typically have Spicebush, Sensitive Fern, and other wetland species.

The dry/wet character of the woodland is also indicated by the trees. The wet areas contain Sycamore, Red Elm, and American Beech. The dry areas contain various species of Oak and Hickory.
From Routzong Preserve webpage

Turkeyfoot Preserve
3986 Bishop Road
Greenville, Ohio 45331

From Routzong Preserve, drive south on Routzong Road for .5 mile. Turn right onto OH-571 west and drive 4.7 miles. Turn left onto Martin Street and drive 1.4 miles. Turn left onto Washington Avenue and go .4 mile. Turn right onto Pine Street. In .3 mile Pine Street turns slightly left and becomes OH-121. Follow OH-121 for 1.5 miles. Turn right onto Bishop Road and go .2 mile. Arrive at Turkeyfoot Preserve.

The preserve is the result of the Natural Resources Conservation Service Wetlands Reserve Program with additional funding from the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund. Darke County Parks acquired this preserve in 2001 with the intent to maintain the wetlands, re-establish the prairie, and provide for public access and passive recreation.

A gravel serpentine trail takes the visitor from the parking lot north along an old railroad bed, a donation by Vectren Energy Delivery of Ohio and Panhandle Pipeline Inc. The trail leads to the east edge of the preserve with access trails to the prairie and the wetlands. An observation deck at the top of a gentle hill provides a panoramic view of the Tawaskote Menitsa Prairie.
From Turkeyfoot Preserve webpage

Shawnee Prairie Preserve
4267 OH-502
Greenville, Ohio 45331

From Turkeyfoot Preserve, drive west on Bishop Road for .5 mile. Turn right onto Greenville Bakers Store Road and drive 1.8 miles. Turn right onto OH-502 east for .6 mile. Arrive at Shawnee Prairie Preserve on the right.

Shawnee Prairie Preserve is Darke County Park’s largest park. There are currently about 2.25 miles of level trails that wind throughout the different ecosystems of the 118-acre park. Benches and observation towers at different points along the trails make visiting the park more enjoyable for visitors who wish to spend some time observing the plants and wildlife within the preserve.

Archaeological evidence has confirmed that at least a portion of Shawnee Prairie Preserve was the site of Prophetstown, this village was founded by Tecumseh’s brother (called The Prophet) to rally fifteen woodland Indian Nations to gather here and demonstrate their living and hunting rights under the 1795 Treaty of Greene Ville.

Rich in natural diversity, Shawnee features wetlands, restored prairies, two streams, a wet woods, swamp forest,and a successional area.
From Shawnee Prairie Preserve webpage

Eidson Woods Preserve
OH-502
Greenville, Ohio 45331

From Shawnee Prairie Preserve, drive west on OH-502 for 5.2 miles. Arrive at Eidson Woods Preserve on the left.

Consisting of 55 acres of maturing woodland and 15 acres of intermediate succession savannah, Eidson Woods offers an excellent range of habitats and species of interest. There are several tree species of significant age, including several American Sycamores and White Oaks. The forest floor is awash with native woodland wildflowers and woodland frogs can be heard in the spring. Summertime visitors will enjoy the cooling waters of Kraut Creek, a pristine tributary of the state designated Scenic River, Greenville Creek. In the autumn, the Preserve’s beech, maple, oak and hickory trees will paint the sky with oranges, reds, and yellows. Even in the dead of winter, hikers can stumble upon a fishing Great Blue Heron, foraging White-tailed Deer and tracks of many others!

On the northern end of the Preserve, a budding savannah can be seen. Consisting of various grasses and second-growth trees, this area will demonstrate how the land transforms as it returns to nature. This region will provide much-needed edge habitat, further encouraging the biodiversity of this Preserve.

Within the forest is a buttonbush swamp. Buttonbush is commonly associated with high-quality wetlands. In addition to this swamp, several vernal pools are interspersed throughout the low areas of the woodland. These pools provide excellent breeding habitat for numerous amphibians and birds alike.

Easily accessible from OH-502 West and Palestine-Union City Road.
From Eidson Woods Preserve webpage

Worth Preserve
Spring Hill Road
Union City, Ohio 45390

From Eidson Woods Preserve, drive west on OH-502 for 2.4 miles. Turn right onto Springhill Road and drive 2.6 miles. Arrive at Worth Preserve on the right.

Worth Preserve, unique natural area, is a mosaic of floodplain, hardwood forest, pine plantation, managed prairie, and thickets. Trails through these varied habitats will lead you to the eastern border of the park–a stretch of scenic Greenville Creek that remains in its natural state, having never been dredged or channelized.

The meandering stream and diverse flora and fauna make Worth Family Nature Preserve an exceptional natural area to visit any time of year. The trail head begins at the restored prairie. Indian Grass towers overhead, but you can still catch a glimpse of Tree Swallows darting and swooping to and from their nest boxes in the spring and summer months. Watch for Monarch and Red Admiral butterflies crossing your path in search of nectar sources. The prairie gives way to a dense stand of 35-year old White Pine trees. This quiet, sheltered place is an ideal roosting area for Wild Turkeys and Great Horned Owls, who hide within the drooping boughs and branches. Continue through the muffled quiet of the pines and enter a noisy thicket of wild Hawthorn and Crab Apple trees. The abundant fruits and seeds provided by these trees keep many animals active well into the winter months. A variety of bird species nest in this intermediate succession area, attracted by the protective thorns and ample food supply.
From Worth Preserve webpage

Coppess Nature Sanctuary
Young Road
Union City, Ohio 45390

From Worth Preserve, drive north on Springhill Road for 1.5 miles. Turn right to stay on Springhill Road and go 1 mile. Turn right onto Pickett Road and drive .9 mile. Turn right onto OH-571 east for .2 mile. Turn left onto Liberty Street, turn left onto Hillgrove-Fort Recover Road and go 1 mile. Turn right onto Bearnsville-Union City Road and go 1 mile. Turn left onto Young Road and drive 1.5 miles. Arrive at Coppress Nature Sanctuary on the right.

Coppess Nature Sanctuary is located in west central Darke County on Young Road (County Road 85). A level, well maintained .75 mile loop trail, beginning and ending at a convenient parking area, make this an ideal place for a short hike satisfying a wide variety of interests and abilities.

Coppess Nature Sanctuary offers a splendid example of an Oak-Hickory forest and a glimpse of some of the great natural diversity of the Darke County region as it appeared 200 years ago. Five species of large Oaks dominate the area. Several White Oaks have a diameter of 40 inches or more. Shagbark and Bitternut Hickories are scattered throughout the area. Other trees of interest include American Beech, American Hornbeam, White Ash, Box Elder and Sugar Maple. More than 38 species of woody plants have been identified

The forest floor plant community is also impressive with more than 84 species of plants including spring wildflowers such as Dutchman’s Breeches, Trilliums, Bloodroot, Mayapple, and Yellow Trout Lily.
From Coppess Nature Sanctuary webpage