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.
Killdeer Plains Birding Drive
Click on the hotspot names below to view the page about that hotspot. (See Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area for information on all the eBird hotspots at Killdeer Plains.)
To reach Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area, go west on OH-294 from US-23. There are two eBird hotspots where the Little Sandusky River crosses Township Highway 113 and Township Highway 125 which you might want to check on your way to the wildlife area. The agricultural fields around Killdeer Plains often have Horned Larks and, in the winter, there are sometimes Snow Buntings and Longspurs in this area.
Continue south on Township Highway 125. Just after a railroad crossing, there is an access road to Pond 30.
Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area–Pond 30
The entrance road from Township Highway 125 leading into Pond 30 is good for woods birds as the nearby railroad provides an edge of habitat which the birds seem to like. The pond itself is not very productive for waterfowl as there are often people fishing at this pond, but during migration, there can be a number of ducks and geese. This is a good stop as you can find woodland birds here that are not present at other places in the wildlife area. Going out of Pond 30, turn right on Township Highway 125 and right again on Wyandot Marion Road (County Highway 68). Note that this road is on the county line. The north side of the road is in Wyandot County. The south side of the road is in Marion County.
Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area–Pond 27
Continue birding along the road until you reach the parking areas on the north for Pond 27. View Pond 27 from the dike, which is accessed from the parking areas along Wyandot Marion Road (County Highway 68).
Pond 27 is a large complex composed of three ponds. (Note that Google maps numbers the ponds separately, but the birds move freely among the ponds and the eBird hotspot uses the designation from the official wildlife area map.) Often the birds are concentrated at the east end of the complex (parking area J). A scope is very helpful. This is a good location for waterfowl, eagles, and hawks, and sometimes owls are seen. There is often open water here in the winter.
Certain parts of Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area in Wyandot County are off limits to the public. While much of this heavily birded 9,000+ acre wildlife area has no restrictions on access, the area bounded by County Highway 68 and 75 on the south, County Highway 71 on the north, Township Highway 108 on the west, and County Highway 119 on the east is off limits. There are signs that clearly mark these boundaries. Please, see Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area map. For the most part, the refuge area of Killdeer Plains encompasses the vicinity of Pond 27 and the other large ponds at the east end of the wildlife area. Very good viewing opportunities can be had from along County Highway 68 on the south side of the large ponds. Birders should not enter the closed areas at Killdeer Plains.
When you are ready to move on, continue west on County Highway 68 and turn right on Meeker-Upper Sandusky Road (Township Highway 115).
Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area–County Highway 75 (no vehicles)
County Highway 75 used to be a primary road to traverse Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area. Now 3 miles of the road are closed to all but handicapped vehicles. Walking this roadway is a good way to get out of your vehicle for a birding walk through the wildlife area. Parking is available at each of the roads which cross County Highway 75.
Please note that the area north of this old county highway and east of Township Highway 108 is a refuge and is closed to entry. Birders may walk the road and on the land south of old County Highway 75. However, do not enter the area north of the old county highway.
When you are ready to move, continue north on Township Highway 115. The primary hotspot for all of Killdeer Plains is located near the headquarters buildings. (Please, submit separate checklists at more specific locations when you are able.) There is a portable toilet at the headquarters.
Continuing on Township Highway 115 you will come to Pond 6. Please note that the land on both sides of the road here is designated as a refuge and not open to entry. Birders may use the parking areas and view birds from there or the roadside only. The parking area for this pond across from the Headquarters is a pleasant spot to stop for lunch and to watch for Northern Harriers across the road. In the winter at sunset, Short-eared Owls may fly over the fields in this area.
Next turn left on County Highway 71. You can use this eBird hotspot to record birds you see along the west end of Highway 71. Then turn left on Township Highway 108.
Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area–Harold Roe Wetland
View Harold Roe Wetland from the roadside only. Best views are from Township Highway 108. This road is less busy than County Highway 71. Watch for ducks and geese during migration, and Bald Eagles may be in this area in any season.
Birders should not enter land on the east side of Township Highway 108 (Harold Roe Wetland). The area on the west side of the road is not closed, although the land here is very wet. There is a small woodlot on the west side of this road where owls sometimes roost.
Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area–Former Service Center Area
Continue south on Township Highway 108 to the intersection with former County Highway 75. The parking lot on the right was formerly the location of the Sportsmen’s Service Center. While the buildings and stables have been torn down, you can park in this parking lot. Please note that during hunting season this area of the refuge is heavily used by hunters.
This is a good area to check in the winter at sunset for Short-eared Owls.
You can park in this area to walk on the land west of Township Highway 108 or to walk either direction on the old County Highway 75, which is now closed to vehicles.
Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area–Pond 3
Continue south on Township Highway 108 and turn right (west) on County Highway 77. This is a fairly busy highway. Continue a mile and turn right (north) on Township Highway 123.
Birding along Township Highway 123 can be productive. You will pass Abraham Marsh on the west just before old County Highway 75. You can park near the gate and walk this old road, which is closed to vehicles. Continuing on Township Highway 123 you will come to Pond 3 on the east. This pond often holds ducks and geese. This is a good location to look for Red-headed Woodpeckers.
Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area–Owl Pines
Turn left (west) on County Highway 71. Just past a barn, you will find a parking area on the south side of the road for the Owl Pines. A wintering owl “hotspot,” this is a mature planting of white pine within a large area of open fields that attracts many raptors. Both Long-eared Owls and Northern Saw-whet Owls have been found roosting in these pines.
Please walk these woods quietly.
Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area–Pond 33
Leaving the Owl Pines, continue west on County Highway 71, turn left (south) on Township Highway 103, then turn right (west) on County Highway 75, which is open to the west. Pull in to the parking area for Pond 33. This pond is a good place to look both for typical water birds and has a nice mix of woodland species.
This birding drive is just one suggested route through Killdeer Plains. All the roads and various eBird hotspots are worth exploring.