Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge

eBird Bar Charts by Season

Entire Year

Spring Migration (Mar-May)
Breeding Season (Jun-Jul)
Fall Migration (Aug-Nov)
Winter (Dec – Feb)

Explore Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge
OverviewHotspotsRecent visitsIllustrated checklist

eBird Hotspots

Please note that, while Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge spans two counties, this general hotspot is currently located in Ottawa County. For birders who are careful about keeping county bird lists, it would be better to use one of the more specific hotspots in the refuge to report your checklists. The data in this hotspot is a mix of checklists, some of which include birds from both counties. These checklists cannot currently be included in the research database because eBird does not allow multi-county checklists. You would make the task of reviewing checklists much easier if you would use a more specific location.

Ottawa NWR (please consider using a more specific hotspot)
Coordinates: 41.616084, -83.2284737
eBird links: Hotspot mapView detailsRecent visits
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Lucas County

Ottawa NWR (Lucas Co.)
Coordinates: 41.6295579, -83.2261562
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Use this hotspot for checklists of birds seen at various locations in the Lucas County section of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. Whenever possible, please use more specific hotspot locations.

Ottawa NWR–Crane Creek Estuary (Lucas Co.)
Coordinates: 41.626901, -83.201383
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Ottawa NWR–Crane Creek Estuary Trail
Coordinates: 41.6310555, -83.1958526
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Ottawa NWR–Metzger Marsh Partnership Trail
Coordinates: 41.6341354, -83.2051192
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Ottawa NWR–Veler Rd.
Coordinates: 41.631387, -83.249888
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Ottawa NWR–Wildlife Drive (Lucas Co.)
Coordinates: 41.631374, -83.228400
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Ottawa County

Ottawa NWR (Ottawa Co.)
Coordinates: 41.6081267, -83.2374001
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Use this hotspot for checklists of birds seen at various locations in the Ottawa County section of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. Whenever possible, please use more specific hotspot locations.

Ottawa NWR–Adam Grimm Prairie
Coordinates: 41.611479, -83.258882
eBird links: Hotspot mapView detailsRecent visits
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Ottawa NWR–Blausey Unit (restricted access)
Coordinates: 41.574281, -83.1083322
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Ottawa NWR–Boss Unit
Coordinates: 41.599505, -83.183045
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Ottawa NWR–Crane Creek Estuary (Ottawa Co.)
Coordinates: 41.619079, -83.221103
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Ottawa NWR–Darby Unit (restricted access)
Coordinates: 41.529399, -82.9914093
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Ottawa NWR–Entrance Pool
Coordinates: 41.608077, -83.201708
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Ottawa NWR–Helle Unit
Coordinates: 41.572232, -83.172787
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Ottawa NWR–Kontz Unit, Bodi and Lemon Roads
Coordinates: 41.6019013, -83.1620407
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Ottawa NWR–Marinewood Unit
Coordinates: 41.5169611, -83.0239488
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Ottawa NWR–Navarre Marsh (restricted access)
Coordinates: 41.5933645, -83.0770683
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Ottawa NWR–Ottawa-Lucas Co. Rd. (Ottawa Co.)
Coordinates: 41.6228213, -83.2538098
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Ottawa NWR–Pool 1 Trail
Coordinates: 41.6170144, -83.1955576
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Ottawa NWR–Price-Adams Unit
Coordinates: 41.4788471, -83.0626055
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Ottawa NWR–Show Pool
Coordinates: 41.6120261, -83.2014381
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Ottawa NWR–Stange Rd. and Krause Rd. and Observation Tower
Coordinates: 41.611298, -83.240606
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Ottawa NWR–Visitor Center and Boardwalk
Coordinates: 41.607517, -83.2096338
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Ottawa NWR–Walking Trail Pools
Coordinates: 41.614872, -83.205336
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Ottawa NWR–Walking Trail Woodland
Coordinates: 41.6116242, -83.2031965
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Ottawa NWR–West Harbor Landing
Coordinates: 41.5288538, -82.8578585
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Ottawa NWR–Wildlife Drive (Ottawa Co.)
Coordinates: 41.6113354, -83.213625
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Black Swamp Bird Observatory and Trails
Coordinates: 41.6051585, -83.1933045
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lake-county-map
lake-county-map

Please be safe. It is never safe to stop your car on OH-2 in this area. State and local police ticket drivers pulled over to the side of this highway.

Ohio Birding Day Hikes
Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Trails
There are ten miles of hiking trails. These trails travel through a variety of habitats.

Visitor Center parking lot:
+ Walking Trails Woodland
from boardwalk trail behind Visitor Center

Trail Head parking lot near the Show Pool:
+ Walking Trails Pools
from the west side of the dike by the Show Pool
+ Pool 1 Trail
from the east side of the dike by the Show Pool

From Magee Marsh:
+ Crane Creek Estuary Trail
from the west end of the Boardwalk parking lot
+ Gallagher Trail
adjacent to the Black Swamp Bird Observatory office
+ Woodies Roost Trail
from the Bird Center parking lot on the east side of the road to the Causeway
+ Ottawa-Magee Marsh Partnership Trail
from south of the Bird Center parking lot on the west side of the road to the Causeway

From Metzger Marsh
+ Metzger Marsh Partnership Trail
from the outer dike – this is an out and back trail

Tips for birding Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge
The main division of the ONWR complex has 4,683 acres managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service from a headquarters building located adjacent to a public parking lot located at the end of the entrance road from OH-2. This area has nine miles of improved stone-base public trails. A kiosk in the parking lot has maps and bird checklists. Walk north on the trail from the parking lot and you will eventually reach Crane Creek and its estuary. Ducks, shorebirds, marsh birds, wading birds and some perching birds can be viewed in the impoundments along the way. The Crane Creek estuary is the best place to see both adult and immature Bald Eagles. Although woodlands are scarce there are two woodlots that provide warblers, vireos and other perching birds during migration. There are grasslands accessible between the parking lot and OH-2, which can provide members of the blackbird and sparrow families. A newer trail runs east/west and connects ONWR with the Magee Marsh causeway. Look for it on the east side of the driveway to the headquarters building.

From Oak Harbor go north on OH-19 for 6 miles to OH-2. Turn west and drive 3 miles to the Refuge entrance.

Sunrise to sunset throughout the year. Headquarters and bookstore open Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. The bookstore also has gifts and toys.

The main parking lot is at the end of the entrance road off of OH-2.

There are two good ways of entering closed areas legally without a permit. 1. Attend the monthly bird survey on the first Sunday of every month at 8:00 a.m. starting from the Refuge main parking lot. 2. Attend the monthly Refuge auto tour through the closed areas. See the ONWRA website for schedule.
From Ohio Ornithological Society

Submitting eBird checklists at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge and Magee Marsh

Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge is a stop on the Lake Erie Birding Trail.

Birds of Interest by Season
Winter
Northern Shrikes, Tundra Swans, Snow Geese, Bald Eagles.
Spring
Ducks (including Eurasian Wigeons), Snowy Egrets, Little Blue Herons, Bald Eagles, migrating raptors, marsh birds.
Summer
Common Moorhens, Common/Black Terns, Snowy Egrets, Bald Eagles, shorebirds, bitterns.
Fall
Bald Eagles, most duck species, shorebirds.

About Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge
Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge spans two counties. The northern part of the refuge is in Lucas County and the southern part is in Ottawa County.

Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge provides valuable habitat for a diversity of waterfowl and other migratory birds, resident wildlife, and endangered and threatened species. It provides a place for people to enjoy wildlife-dependent activities and learn about the complexities of the natural world through education and interpretive programming.

Ottawa Refuge is located in northwest Ohio. The entrance is located 15 miles east of Toledo, Ohio or 16 miles west of Port Clinton, Ohio on OH-2. The entrance road is located on the north side of OH-2.

Visitors should stop at the visitor center which opened in 2007. This beautiful lodge style building welcomes you and tells the refuge story. The building is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

There are ten miles of hiking trails. These trails travel through a variety of habitats and start behind the visitor center or from the trailhead parking lot.

The refuge wildlife drive is open on scheduled days from 8 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The wildlife drive allows vehicles to travel through areas of the refuge not otherwise open to the general public. See the calendar of events for open dates.
From Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge webpage

Restrooms at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge are available at the Visitor Center (flush toilets) and at the parking lot for trails (non-flush toilets).

The Visitor Center, nearby trail, and bird viewing blind are handicap accessible. The Wildlife Drive provides opportunity to view birds from a vehicle.

Reporting Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Wildlife Drive Bird Checklists on eBird
Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Wildlife Drive map

If you wish to report your bird sightings to eBird (https://ebird.org) from the Wildlife Drive at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, there are two eBird Hotspots to receive your reports:

Ottawa NWR–Wildlife Drive (Ottawa Co.)
Coordinates: 41.6113354, -83.213625
eBird links: Hotspot mapView detailsRecent visits
My eBird links: Location life listSubmit data

Ottawa NWR–Wildlife Drive (Lucas Co.)
Coordinates: 41.631374, -83.228400
eBird links: Hotspot mapView detailsRecent visits
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The south portion of the Wildlife Drive is in Ottawa County, the north portion is in Lucas County. You are on the county line when the Wildlife Drive turns right (east) on Ottawa-Lucas Rd.

Please, keep two checklists of birds you see, one for each portion of the Wildlife Drive. The section in Ottawa County is about 2.4 miles; the section in Lucas County is 3 or more miles. eBird limits a “traveling” count to five miles or less and sorts your bird sightings by county, thus two “hotspots” to report your sightings. Sometimes the route of the Wildlife Drive varies, so you might want to set your odometer to record the actual miles you cover for each section.