Holmes 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.

Holmes County Birding Drive
Click on the hotspot names below to view the page about that hotspot.

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

Holmes County

Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area (Holmes County)
Shreve, Ohio 44676

While most of the Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area is in Wayne County, there are two sections of the wildlife area in Holmes County you can access from OH-83.

Going south on OH-83 from Wooster turn right (west) onto County Line Road and go .5 mile. There is a small parking area on the south side of the road where you may park to walk and explore this section of the wildlife area.

The 5,671-acre Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area is situated in northeastern Ohio in portions of Wayne and Holmes counties. The area extends north from Holmesville to three miles south of Wooster and lies between OH-83 on the east and OH-226 on the west.

The area is in a shallow, U-shaped glacial outwash valley. The elevation varies from 840 feet at the floor of Killbuck Creek near Holmesville to nearly 1,000 feet on hillsides parallel to the valley floor. About 56 percent of the acquisition unit consists of marsh and swamp that is flooded during some portion of the year. This complex is Ohio’s largest remaining marshland outside of the Lake Erie region.
From Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area webpage

Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area–Butler Spring
To reach Butler Spring, return to OH-83 on County Line Road. Turn right onto OH-83 and drive 1.4 miles south. Please use care. OH-83 is a busy highway. There are small pull-off areas on either side of OH-83. It is best to park and walk to views of the spring. It is not safe to stop in the driving lanes of OH-83.

Butler Spring is a year-round, open spring within (at the edge of) the Killbuck Marsh complex. It is located just north of the village of Holmesville, on OH-83, at the very southeastern edge of the Killbuck Wildlife Area Complex. Butler Spring never freezes and remains a shallow, open area that attracts waterfowl, shorebirds, and pipits during extremely cold temperatures. The spring originates in the hillside, on the east side of OH-83, runs under the road, and opens in the marsh complex. The open water area of the spring, just west of the road edge, is very shallow and is filled with watercress (Nasturtium officinale W.T. Aiton). The birds often sit, rest, and forage on or in the watercress, in the shallow water. There are places to pull off on both the east and west sides of the road, near the spring. It’s a great place to check for January birding!
From Jason Larson

Holmes County Trail–Millersburg to Holmesville
Millersburg, Ohio 44654

The next two stops on this birding drive are on the Holmes County Trail.

To reach the Holmes County Trail trailhead in Holmesville from Butler Spring, drive south on OH-83 for 2.5 miles. Turn right on the access road behind the Route 83 Restaurant and proceed to the parking lot for the Holmes County Trail.

The section from Holmesville to Millersburg is 4.9 miles. Walk south on the trail, going as far as you have time. Return to the parking lot when you are ready to move to the next stop.

Labeled as the first Trail in the nation to accommodate Amish buggies, the unique and scenic Holmes County Trail now has 15 miles of its 29-mile trail open from Fredericksburg to Killbuck.

One lane of the trail is paved with asphalt for biking, roller-blading, walking, running, and wheelchairs, while the adjoining buggy and equestrian trail is paved with “chip and seal” for horse-drawn vehicles and horseback riding. Upon completion of the 29-mile trail, Holmes and Knox County will consist of over 50-miles of uninterrupted trail giving trail users a unique recreational facility in the Ohio to Erie Trail System.
From Holmes County Trail webpage

Holmes County Trail–Millersburg
From the Holmesville trailhead, drive south on OH-83 for 4.3 miles. In Millersburg make a slight right onto North Washington Street and go .3 mile. Turn right onto West Clinton Street and arrive at the Millersburg Trail Depot Hipp Station.

There are two trailhead access points to the Holmes County Trail in Millersburg. The main trailhead is the Millersburg Trail Depot Hipp Station on Trail Drive off West Clinton Street. There is also access to the trail from the Walmart parking lot. The distance between these two access points is 1.7 miles.

Lower Killbuck Creek Wildlife Area
Millersburg, Ohio 44654

From Millersburg, take US-62 south for 7.6 miles. Turn left onto County Road 53 and go .1 mile. The parking area for the Killbuck Creek Wildlife Area is on the left.

This 161-acre wildlife area is located in northeastern Ohio in Holmes County. The town of Killbuck lies one mile to the northeast. US-62 bisects the area, running east-west. The area lies at the edge of the glaciated region of Ohio, with flat, wetland topography.

Wood duck, mallard, Canada geese, muskrat, and raccoon are the principal game and furbearer species. Beaver are common and have created excellent habitat for many furbearers, birds, fish, frogs, and turtles. River otters have been documented on the area, as well as bald eagles and trumpeter swans. A great variety of nesting and migrant birds utilize the area and the adjacent private wetlands. Killbuck Creek and the channels and oxbows support good populations of Northern pike and various rough fish, along with some panfish.
From Lower Killbuck Creek Wildlife Area webpage

Four Ponds
Loudonville, Ohio 44842

From Killbuck Creek Wildlife Area, take OH-60 north for 16.1 miles. Turn right onto County Highway 22 and go 1.2 miles. Turn right onto Township Road 464. The four ponds are on either side of this road.

There are four ponds along Township Road 464, all on private property, so observe birds here from the road only. The road is not busy and there are many places to pull off to the side to scope birds on the ponds. These ponds are especially good for waterfowl and shorebirds during migration and can be a staging area for swallows.
From Gary Cowell

Loudonville Park Pond
Loudonville, Ohio 44842

From the four ponds, drive southwest on Township Road 464 for 1.2 miles. Turn right onto OH-39 and drive 2.1 miles. Turn left onto Township Road 455 and go .1 mile. Arrive at Loudonville Park on the left.

The Loudonville Park is located off East Main (OH-39), at the east end of town, the Loudonville Pool complex includes a heated outdoor public pool, wading pool, picnic pavilion, playground, pond, skateboard park, and basketball court.