Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area–Owl Pines

Upper Sandusky, Ohio 43351
Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area webpage
Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area map

Also, see Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area, Killdeer Plains-Big Island Important Bird Area, and Killdeer Plains Birding Drive

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Wyandot County

Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area–Owl Pines
Coordinates: 40.7173713, -83.3551168
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Photo by Cheryl Harner

Tips for birding Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area Owl Pines
Ohio Birding Day Hike: Killdeer Plains Trails

About Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area Owl Pines
A wintering owl “hotspot” at Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area in Wyandot County, 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 are often found roosting in these pines.
From Owls of Ohio Guidebook, p. 33

Photo to left from the Weekpicker’s Journal blog by Cheryl Harner.
“Our group was enthralled- in a quiet and respectful way. This is good education. No stomping around or hollering here. Just good birds and quiet birders.”

About Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area
The 9,230-acre Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area lies in the grain farming country of north-central Ohio, eight miles south of Upper Sandusky. Wyandot County Road 115 provides access from OH-294, two miles west of Harpster, and from OH-309, eight miles west of Marion. OH-67 and OH-294 border the area on the west and north. Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area is quite flat, with little natural drainage; however, land adjacent to the Little Sandusky River on the east edge of the area is quite rolling.Approximately two-thirds of the area is in cropland and grassland. The other one-third is divided almost equally between woods and shrubby coverts and water. The water areas include more than 1,000 acres of marsh, a 360-acre green tree reservoir, the upground reservoir, and 125 ponds ranging from less than an acre to 50 acres in size. Most small ponds are not shown on the map.

Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area is situated in a natural basin of flat, poorly drained soils formerly covered by prairie sloughs. The original prairie spanned about 30,000 acres. Early records report an abundance of deer, waterfowl, and furbearers. The “Plains” eventually were drained, with varying degrees of success, by ditching and tiling. Today, the agricultural land around the area is intensively farmed for corn and soybeans. Purchase of land for this area began in 1952.

Wildlife management activities included development and management of several thousand acres of grain crops and grassland, primarily for nesting and migrating grassland wildlife. Trees and shrubs have been planted along field borders and in odd areas to provide permanent cover for upland wildlife. Woods have been protected and improved. Several of the ponds provide fishing opportunities. An 800-acre marsh was constructed in 1966, and the upground reservoir was completed in 1971. All suitable fishing waters were stocked with fish. Waterfowl production was enhanced through the provision of several hundred wood duck nest boxes and Canada goose nesting structures. The green tree reservoir was completed in 1994 with assistance from Ducks Unlimited. Pond 3 has been converted to a moist soil unit for the benefit of waterfowl.

The primary purpose of the wildlife area is for grassland wildlife management and associated recreational use. Uses which have become increasingly popular because of the area’s natural features and open character are nature lore, wildlife photography, and bird watching.
From Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area webpage

Restroom, portable toilet, at Wildlife Area Headquarters.