Black Swamp Nature Center

Black Swamp Nature Center
McDonald Park
Paulding, Ohio 45879
Black Swamp Nature Center webpage
Black Swamp Nature Center historical brochure

Also, see Paulding County Birding Drive

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Paulding County

Black Swamp Nature Center
Coordinates: 41.1261135, -84.5918029
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Ohio Birding Day Hike

Black Swamp Nature Center Trails
Stick Pond Trail
This trail winds itself around the famous stick pond which is a favorite of many visitors to the Black Swamp Nature Center for fishing. There are many spots around this pond where the fish love to hide. The name for this pond comes from the multiple large sticks and logs that can be seen sticking out of the water in the middle of the pond. (Be careful not to get your fishing line caught on one of these!). There are also a variety of little creatures that have made their homes in the pond and in the area surrounding the pond. If you stop to look up while on your walk, you might catch a glimpse of the northern oriole singing in the trees.

Goldfinch Trail
This trail is found around Cattail Pond which is located on the eastern side of the Black Swamp Nature Center building. The pond received its name from the large number of cattails, which are populated around the island located in the middle of the pond. If you listen closely, you can hear the croaking of a bullfrog, the squawk of a Canadian goose, maybe the pleasant singing of the goldfinch. On the south side of this pond, the walking path lies between the bank of the pond and a patch of very tall grass. Do not be alarmed if you hear a rustling from the grass as more than likely it is one of our resident groundhogs just out searching for some food! If you need to take a rest, be sure to enjoy the benches located at each corner for your convenience.

Falling Timbers Trail
The Falling Timbers Trail begins at a small pond where great blue heron are known to fish. Walk quietly and see if you can sneak up on one! On a sunny day, you might also see a turtle or two sunning themselves on the rocks at the pond’s edge. Once you pass the pond, you walk into the woods where you can spot large Ohio Buckeye trees and raccoon tracks in the mud.

Blue Jay Trail
This trail gets its name from the blue jays who live along the forest trail. Do not expect to get a pretty song from these birds as they make a sharp, raspy sound. You will notice that this forest trail is home to numerous groundhogs. Be careful to not fall in one of their holes! Where else in the nature center do groundhogs live? Groundhogs are plump little creatures which reddish-brown fur and black feet. They burrow in the ground to make their home which has a couple of different rooms and two entrances. Also known as woodchucks, groundhogs come out in the morning and late afternoon in search of green vegetation to eat.

Flat Rock Trail
The Flat Rock Trail has both nature and history closely related to it. On one end of the trail is the boat access that many visitors to the Black Swamp Nature Center utilize to launch their boats into Flat Rock Creek. On the east end of this trail, visitors will notice a dam that spans across Flat Rock Creek which was once used by the Sugar Beet Factory to hold water back during the dry summer months so they had water to use during their production process. Prior to the dam’s construction, Flat Rock Creek would typically dry up in the summer months when rainfall would come at a premium. There is also a pump located on this trail (look for the big green concrete structure). This pump was installed to raise the water level of the ponds by using water from the creek.

Old Meadow Lane
Old Meadow Lane is a favorite of the birdwatchers! In this trail, there is a large variety of birds that congregate here and nest. One such bird is the Red-Winged Blackbird. He sings a pretty song and loves to follow people as they leisurely stroll around the trail. It has also been said to see various cranes or egrets around this trail.

Tips for birding Black Swamp Nature Center
This 55-acre property, formerly known as the Paulding Ponds, was once managed by the State of Ohio as a hunting and fishing area. Located on Flat Rock Creek, it consists mainly of mixed deciduous woodland, especially in the creek floodplain. There is a large, shallow pond of 5-6 acres, an approximately 4-acre marshy area, and three smaller ponds.

A brushy field, located next to the parking lot, provides some habitat for field species. The trails are good and generally well-maintained. Since 1985, 190 species have been recorded at this location.

At the southwest corner of Court House square in downtown Paulding, go south on Williams Street and continue on road past fairgrounds. Black Swamp Nature Center is to the west, just past the fairgrounds. To get to the entrance, turn left (south) on CR-107 and drive south about two hundred feet to the driveway on left, which is marked by a sign.

Open all year from dawn until dusk.
Paved parking lot.

Keep an eye out for groundhog excavations on trails.
From Ohio Ornithological Society

Birds of Interest by Season
None- common resident and winter visitors.
Excellent for migrant songbirds (34 species of warblers recorded), including Connecticut, Hooded, Worm-eating, Prairie, Cerulean and Kentucky Warblers. American and Least Bitterns have been found in the marsh.
The marsh has hosted nesting Common Gallinule and Pied-billed Grebes.
Good for migrant songbirds- warblers, vireos, kinglets, thrushes, etc.

About Black Swamp Nature Center
The Black Swamp Nature Center contains 51 acres consisting of 24 acres of woodland, 14 acres of wetlands, and 6 acres of old meadow. The nature center has many assets which enhance its use. A boat launch allows easy access to Flat Rock Creek, while trails wander around the top banks of three ponds, along Flat Rock Creek, and past the old Sugar Beet Dam. The Paulding County Fairgrounds border the nature center on its northeast side, with two access trails allowing easy entrance. The old meadow and wetland areas provide an excellent habitat for many species of birds and plant life.

The Black Swamp Nature Center provides a wonderful area to observe bird life, especially during the Spring and Fall migrations.
From Black Swamp Nature Center webpage

Basic restroom facility with no running water. Better restrooms at Reservoir Park located on the other side of Creek (entrance off County Road 107).