Local Places to Bird Watch Near West Chester

Forest Run Metro Park

1810 New London Road 
Hamilton, OH 45013

The Wildlife Preserve area is 82-acres of scenic preserve which includes a playground (installed in 2011 and with additional components added in 2012), restrooms, a water fountain, creek, woods, a prairie, meadows, and a wetland, all of which provide diverse habitat for the variety of area wildlife found here. Once used as farmland, the property was donated to MetroParks by the Richard J. Fitton family. 
A raised observation deck affords visitors a view of the prairie while trails run through the woods and meadows and along the wetland. 
Community and stakeholder input was gathered in early 2014 for the development of a park master plan for Forest Run MetroPark. This concept plan will a 5-10 year development concept plan for the Wildlife Preserve Area, the Timberman Ridge Area, the Welcome Center, the Little Dry Run Area and the Engel House Area (MetroParks Administrative Office) that collectively make up Forest Run MetroPark. The plan will be shared as the input is compiled and graphic representations of the plan concept are developed. 
Motor vehicle permits are required to enter the various areas of Forest Run MetroPark. Motor Vehicle permits are FREE to Butler County residents. Non-residents can obtain motor vehicle permits at $5/daily or $10/annually. 


Voice of America Park

7850 VOA Park Dr.
West Chester, OH 45069

This 435-acre park is conveniently located in the suburban area of West Chester. Voice of America (aka VOA) Park features a 35-acre stocked lake and 2.5 mile scenic path trail around the water and up Butler County Rd. Visitors can fish, walk, jog or just sit and enjoy the view from the patio at the new Ronald Reagan Lodge. Available WiFi allows guests to combine business and pleasure in and around the Lodge. There is also a pavilion for picnic lunches and gatherings or just people-watching. Wiggly Field dogpark allows guests and their four-legged friends the opportunity to get out too. Prefer to explore wildlife? Much of the park's acreage remains grassland and was designated as an "Important Birding Area" by Audubon Ohio. This park is open year-round and during winter, the 65 foot sledding hill is a delight for adults and kids of all ages! The Voice of America Park has something for everyone!


Cincinnati Nature Center

4949 Tealtown Road
Milford, OH 45150

With 50 years of land and habitat management experience and a mosaic of diverse native habitats on 1,600 acres, Cincinnati Nature Center is establishing the Center for Conservation & Stewardship. The Center will act as a community resource by promoting research, developing education programs and helping people become better stewards of the land in Greater Cincinnati. As the first of its kind in the region, we’ll serve those with an interest in land and water management, applied ecology and environmental research—providing hands-on experience, education and support for students, homeowners, landowners, scientists, researchers, high school and college teachers and professors, land and water managers, municipalities and community partners


Fernald Nature Preserve

7411 Willey Road
Hamilton, OH 45013

The Fernald Preserve features 140 acres of wetland habitat including three lakes, 400 acres of forests and 360 acres of grasslands including tall grass prairies. In the short amount of time this site has been open to the public (since 2008) it has hosted a fair number of rarities and the total species list is at 240. Garganey, Eurasian Wigeon, Black-necked Stilt, Wilson’s Phalarope, and Golden Eagle are all on the site species list. The Lodge Pond trail, located along the site’s access road approximately 1/8 mile from the Willey Road entrance, provides access to wetlands and prairies. In addition to a wide range of migratory waterfowl, this area provides excellent viewing opportunities for a variety of prairie species including Dickcissels, Bobolinks, Grasshopper Sparrows, and Eastern Meadowlarks and occasionally Northern Bobwhite. Shingle Oak and Sycamore trails primarily span woodland habitat and are good choices for viewing neo-tropical migrants as well as a variety of summer nesters. The Weapons-to-Wetlands trail features an overlook that provides excellent viewing for migrating waterfowl in the spring and fall as well as a variety of raptors in the winter months. The biowetland has been good for shorebirds during migration when water levels are favorable. The 3.1 mile Hickory Trail spans prairies, upland forests, open water and a riparian corridor; the northern part of this trail is located in Butler Co. Blue Grosbeaks, Dickcissels, Grasshopper Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, Bobolinks, and even the occasional Henslow’s Sparrow can be found along the first section of this trail. Migrant songbirds as well as breeders such as Gray Catbirds, White-eyed Vireos, and Yellow-breasted Chats can be found along the back loop of this trail.


Sharon Woods

11450 Lebanon Road
Sharonville, Ohio 45241

The 2.6-mile Harbor Trail travels around the 35-acre Sharon Lake. It includes several challenging hills and it is mostly shaded by woodlands.
Beyond the Sharon Harbor Trail, there are also two other suggested loops that connect the Sharon Harbor with the Sharon Centre. The Gorge/Parcours Loop can be accessed from the Harbor Trail and is 1.3 miles. The buckeye Falls Loop is 0.6 mile and can be accessed from the Gorge/Parcours Loop and leads to the Sharon Centre. When walking from the Sharon Centre and the Harbor, trail users can combine these trails to cover a total of nearly 5 miles. A variety of unique habitats make Sharon Woods a great place to see a diverse assortment of not only birds, but other wildlife as well! Migrant birds such as Indigo Buntings, Tanagers, Yellow-throated Warblers, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, and more can be seen in the park during the summer months.