Killbuck Marsh 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.

Killbuck Marsh Birding Drive
Thanks to Su Snyder and the Ohio Ornithological Society for the description of this drive.

Click on the hotspot names below to view the page about that hotspot.

Wayne County
Holmes County

Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area–Wright Marsh
To start at the northwest corner of the Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area, take OH-3 south from Wooster and veer left to get on OH-226. Turn left onto Carrie Lane, which dead-ends into a parking area with walking access to Wright Marsh. In the spring, huge rafts of ducks can often be seen here. Remember to stay off the private property that borders the wildlife area.

Return to OH-226 and travel south less than a half mile. Turn left into the Wright Marsh parking lot. From here you can walk to several impoundments. During migration, look for waterfowl and shorebirds.

Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area–Willow Road
Continue on OH-226 and turn left onto Willow Road. At the railroad tracks, there are parking areas that overlook impoundments on the left and a private duck-hunting area on the right.

Crossing the railroad tracks, look for Prothonotary Warblers and Red-shouldered Hawks in the woods along this stretch of road. Continue on Willow Road, which turns to the right and becomes a gravel road (the paved road straight ahead is called Kimber Road from this point). This is a good road to look for passerines. There is a parking area on the right where you can pick up a primitive walking trail.

Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area–Clark Road
Continue on Willow Road. At the top of the hill, go straight ahead and the road merges with Valley Road. You will come to a large open area of water on the left just before reaching Clark Road. This spot hosts waterfowl, warblers, vireos, and both orioles. Black Terns often come through here during migration. When the water level is low, look for shorebirds.

Turn left onto Clark Road. At the first crossroads, turn right onto OH-83.

Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area–Force Road East
At the first right, turn onto Force Road. After passing through private property, you will reach the wildlife area. This road is often very rough. Look for Yellow-breasted Chats, White-eyed Vireos, and Wild Turkeys. There is a parking area just before a small bridge. At the water, nesting Hooded Mergansers and Common Moorhens are possible. This road dead-ends at the Killbuck Creek and this final stretch of road to the river is occasionally totally underwater and impassible. The left (south) side of the road is a refuge and is closed to the public.

Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area (Holmes County)
Return to OH-83 and turn right. Then turn right onto County Line Road (also known at Centerville Road). At the first parking area on the left, you can pick up a primitive walking trail. A few hundred feet down the road, check near the bridge for nesting Yellow-throated and Prothonotary Warblers. In winter, look for Yellow-rumped Warblers.

Continue on County Line Road. Along this stretch, watch for Sandhill Cranes and Wild Turkeys. The lane to Killbuck Marsh wildlife station is a few miles up the road on the right. A box at the beginning of the lane holds maps of the area.

Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area–Force Road West
Continue on County Line Road until you reach Shreve Eastern Road, which veers to the right, then make another immediate right onto Valley Road. Turn right onto Force Road (a sign here reads No Outlet). At the bottom of the hill is a parking area. From here it’s a short walk along the road to the spot where you can see the Bald Eagle nest in the closed refuge, on the right side of the road. Other nesters in this area include Red-headed Woodpeckers, Marsh Wrens, Willow Flycatchers, and Sandhill Cranes. Force Road dead-ends at the Killbuck Creek, so you will have to go back up Force Road and turn right onto Valley Road, which makes another right at the top of the hill.

Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area–Valley Road South
At the bottom of the hill on this section of Valley Road is a large, open marsh dominated by Marsh Wrens. This is also a good spot for Virginia Rails and Soras.

Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area–Cemetery Road
Returning to the top of the hill, turn right onto Force Road, then right on to Cemetery Road. You will come to a large wetland area on the corner of Cemetery Road and OH-226 that attracts large numbers of waterfowl. There is a small parking area on the right. A spotting scope will be helpful at this spot.

Shreve Fish Pond
Turn right onto OH-226 and check the private pond directly across from the Wright Marsh Parking Area. When the water is low in the spring and fall, this can be quite a hot-spot for shorebirds. Continue north on OH-226 and check out the pond behind the Pine Tree Barn for waterfowl. This is also private property.

Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area–Moore Marsh
Turn right onto Valley Road. Just before the railroad track and bridge is the Moore Marsh parking area. Check out the impoundments for water birds. Northern Rough-winged Swallows usually nest under the bridge.

Crossing the railroad track and bridge, you can turn right on Valley Road, which will eventually take you back to the Clark Road area, or make a left turn onto Messner Road.

Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area–Messner Road
Most years this bottomland hosts nesting Brown Creepers, Prothonotary Warblers, and Red-shouldered Hawks. Red-headed Woodpeckers are usually easily found along this road.

Turning right off Messner Road, Prairie Lane soon merges with OH-83. The Killbuck Marsh area runs for miles along this stretch in both Wayne and Holmes Counties. Most of the land along here is private property, so look for signs. After you pass County Line Road, there are several pull-offs. One of the pull-offs on the right, by an oil tank, has been a good place to see Sandhill Cranes.

Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area–Butler Spring
The next parking area south is beside Butler Spring; one of the few places in the area that has open water all winter.