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.
Henry County Birding Drive
Click on the hotspot names below to view the page about that hotspot.
Henry County is one of Ohio’s “under-birded” counties (fewer than 1000 eBird checklists). This Birding Drive explores eBird hotspots in the county. When you submit checklists here you help to add to the data about birds in this region of Ohio.
East Holmes Street
Deshler, Ohio 43516
The Deshler Reservoirs are located south of OH-18 in the Village of Deshler.
The small village of Deshler has three upground reservoirs which can attract migrating ducks and geese during the spring and fall. These reservoirs are all within Crossroads Park. Parking to access the reservoirs is available in the lot at the end of East Holmes Street.
Hamler City Park
Hamler, Ohio 43524
From the Deshler Reservoirs, take South Stearns Avenue and South East Avenue to OH-18. Turn left on OH-18 and follow OH-18 for 8.1 miles to Hamler City Park.
Hamler City Park features a reservoir that can attract ducks and geese during migration. Parking is available on Edgerton Street and on North First Street.
From Village of Hamler website
Miami Wabash & Erie Canal Towpath Trail–Independence Dam Section
Napoleon, Ohio 43545
From Hamler City Park, take OH-109 north for 3.5 miles. Turn left onto OH-281 west and drive 8 miles. Turn right onto County Road 17 and go 2.8 miles. Turn left onto County Road Z and drive .5 miles. Turn right and cross the Maumee River. The trailhead is just across the river.
The Independence Dam section of the Miami Wabash and Erie Canal Towpath Trail provides a five-mile hike from Independence Dam State Park to the Village of Florida along the Miami Wabash and Erie Canal Towpath. Take a look at an original lock, see the water roar over the dam, hear the rapids, follow the canal, and enjoy the great outdoors.
From Independence Dam Leg of the Miami Wabash & Erie Canal Towpath Trail map
Bird as much of this trail as you find productive and time allows.
The next two sites along this birding drive are within walking distance of one another along the Maumee River in Napoleon. From the towpath trailhead, go east on OH-424 for 6 miles to the Meyerholtz Wildlife Area.
The Meyerholtz Wildlife Area is managed by the City of Napoleon Parks Department. The site has an open shelterhouse, picnic tables, open grass area, a path for walking and jogging, and also a parking area. Bird this area along the Maumee River.
From City of Napoleon Parks System webpage
Ritter Park is .7 of a mile from Meyerholtz Wildlife Area. Take OH-424 east to Ritter Park.
Ritter Park is one of many of Napoleon’s parks situated along the Maumee River. Once a state park built in the 1930’s, Ritter Park is now a passive park that people can enjoy whether at the historical stone shelter house for reunions or other gatherings or strolling along the walking path enjoying the view of the river. The city’s boat launch facility is part of Ritter Park and is a popular spot for boating enthusiasts during the summer months.
From City of Napoleon Parks and Recreation webpage
The next three locations are adjacent to one another. Stop at one or all three as time permits on your drive. From Ritter Park, continue east on OH-424 for 7.8 miles. Continue straight ahead onto Old US-24 for .6 miles and arrive at the North Turkeyfoot Area.
The North Turkeyfoot Area is managed as a part of Mary Jane Thurston State Park. There are three access points in the area, two (west and east) in the state park property and a state fishing access on South Turkey Foot Creek. These locations give similar views of the Maumee River.
Miami Wabash & Erie Canal Park
Liberty Center, Ohio 43532
From the North Turkeyfoot Area, go east on Old US-24 for 5 miles to the Miami Wabash and Erie Canal Park.
This small park along the Miami Wabash & Erie Towpath Trail provides access to the Maumee River.
Mary Jane Thurston State Park
McClure, Ohio 43534
From the towpath trailhead, go east on Old US-24 from 2.1 miles. Turn right onto OH-295 and cross the Maumee River. Turn right onto Front Street, left onto Wapakoneta Road, and right onto West Second Street. Continue straight ahead on OH-65 to the state park.
In 1928, Mary Jane Thurston, a Grand Rapids schoolteacher bequeathed fourteen acres of land to be used as a park. After several transfers and leases, Mary Jane Thurston State Park was dedicated in 1968. Adjacent property and additional land upriver, known as North Turkeyfoot Area, were purchased in 1968 and 1969.
From Mary Jane Thurston State Park website
Maumee State Forest (Henry County)
Liberty Center, Ohio 43532
From Mary Jane Thurston State Park, retrace your route to cross the Maumee River and return to Old US-24. Turn right onto Providence Neapolis Road and drive 2.8 miles. Turn left onto Bailey Road and go .5 miles. Turn right on Township Road 1D. Explore the roads in the Maumee State Forest in Henry County, birding from your vehicle.
Maumee State Forest is located 15 miles southwest of Toledo in northwestern Ohio and covers 3100 acres. The flat topography and natural features are a result of the Wisconsin glacier passing through this area about 18,000 years ago. This area, with its poorly drained soils ranging from fine yellow sand to dark muck soil, is known locally as the Oak Openings region.
From Maumee State Forest website
Wabash Cannonball Trail–South Fork, Neapolis to Coulton
Liberty Center, Ohio 43532
The drive to the Wabash Cannonball Trail is through the State Forest lands. Continue north on County Road 1D for .5 miles. Turn left on County Road V and go 1.5 miles. Turn right onto County Road 3. The trailhead is on the right.
You can walk this trail in either direction as time permits.