The 8 Best Places for Bird Watching in Cincinnati

Cincinnati is home to a wide variety of birds including warblers, sparrows, cardinals, finches, herons, bald eagles and more. 

Fortunately, there are tons of great places around the Queen City to do some bird watching. From wide open parks to wooded areas to smaller preserves, there are several different spots around the city where you can admire these species.

In this post, we share the 8 best places for bird watching around Cincinnati.

Map of Places

The following map shows the locations of every place mentioned in this post:

Caldwell Nature Preserve

Located just outside of Finneytown, Caldwell Nature Preserve is a lesser known nature area that offers plenty of bird watching opportunities. With over 3.5 miles of trails that weave through heavily wooded areas, it’s a bird’s paradise. This spot is also a nice place to submerge yourself in nature because it’s usually uncrowded.

For a closer look at the preserve, check out the video below made by WCPO:

Cincinnati Nature Center

Located in Milford, the Cincinnati Nature Center spans more than 1,000 acres and offers over 16 miles of hiking trails. The best part about the nature center is the sheer variety of areas to walk through including ponds, meadows, open fields, and wooded areas, which means there are an eclectic mix of birds that can be found in the different areas.

The center is open year-round, but note that daily admission is $9 for adults, or alternatively you can get a yearly membership. You can find out more about their admission, hours, and rates here.

Fernald Preserve

Once the site of a nuclear weapons plant, Fernald Preserve is a nature and wildlife preserve located on the northwest side of Cincinnati in Hamilton. Covering over 1,050 acres, the preserve features over 7 miles of paved and unpaved trails along with a huge visitors’ center where you can learn about the history of the preserve and the transformation that took place to turn it from a nuclear weapons plant into a nature preserve. This is a truly unique place to visit and it’s one that appeals to hikers, birders, and photographers alike.

Gilmore Metropark

Spanning over 260 acres, Gilmore Metropark is a spacious park in Hamilton that is home to several hiking trails that loop around a couple large ponds. The seasonal flooding that occurs in the area is responsible for the wetland nature of the park, which makes for some excellent bird watching opportunities. There’s also an observation tower and two raised decks that offer some great vantage points for birding. Audubon Ohio even declared this park to be an “Important Birding Area.”

Check out the video below to get a glimpse at what this park offers:

Magrish Preserve

Arguably the most hidden spot on this list, Magrish Preserve is a small preserve located along the Little Miami River that spans just two acres but offers some excellent opportunities for observing warblers. The preserve is a wooded area home to a small network of trails that offers several great spots for bird watching. Best of all, the spot is such a hidden gem that it’s hardly ever crowded.

Mt. Airy Forest

Spanning over 1,400 total acres, Mt. Airy Forest is the largest Cincinnati park and also a popular one for birding. There are several several miles of hiking trails that weave through different wooded areas that offer some excellent opportunities for spotting a variety of birds.

Otto Armleder Park

Located in Linwood, Otto Armleder Park is a 238-acre park that offers hiking trails, a bike path, a playground area, shelters, and a plethora of soccer fields. There are three unique places to do some birding at the park:

  • In the open meadow area with paved walking trails.
  • Along the wooded area near the river.
  • Along the paved walking path that connects to the Lunken Airport walking loop.

Depending on where you walk, it’s common to spot sparrows, warblers, tree swallows, and a variety of other birds in the area.

Winton Woods

Lastly, Winton Woods is another great place for bird watching in Cincinnati. There are several different hiking trails located throughout the area and there’s arguably no better place in the city to see some blue herons.

For more info about the blue herons in the area, check out this blog post from the Great Parks of Hamilton County.

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