Birds of a feather flock together at Metro Parks

CARRIE MORROW, Assistant Resource Manager

Kayaker on Big Darby Creek during bird survey
Carrie Morrow kayaks down Big Darby Creek during a Metro Parks bird survey. (Kim Myers)

Central Ohio birders know that Metro Parks are fantastic for birding adventures. Visitors may be looking to add to their life list or just love to watch birds interact with one another.

Metro Parks uses annual surveys to check breeding populations of birds and this year’s survey shows what a healthy habitat the parks provide for our feathered friends. Many of the volunteers that help with our surveys are professional birders who can identify birds by sight and from the sounds of their calls and songs.

Highlights from our May to mid-June surveys include:

Battelle Darby Creek and Prairie Oaks

Prothonotary warbler at Blacklick Woods
Prothonotary warbler (Terrence Peck)

In June, we spent two mornings canoeing Big Darby Creek and counting birds. Many prothonotary warblers were seen in the Battelle Darby Creek stretch. At Prairie Oaks, we found more than expected red-headed woodpeckers. They are nesting in the hollows of dead ash trees. In the grasslands, Henslow’s sparrows are increasing in number and a group of dickcissels settled in to breed this season.

Red-headed woodpecker at Blacklick Woods
Red-headed woodpecker at Blacklick Woods. (Terrence Peck)


Blacklick Woods

We began surveys at Blacklick Woods in 2016 and the number of species seen have been increasing. The coolest find was a woodcock nest in the grassland with two empty egg shells!

Pair of young woodcocks in meadow at Highbanks
Pair of young woodcocks in meadow at Highbanks. (Adam Brandemihl)


Glacier Ridge

Around 30 bobolinks were seen in the grassland surveys. To watch these beautiful birds, take a walk on the Marsh Hawk Trail.

Bobolink spreads its wings in the grassland at Glacier Ridge
Bobolink spreads its wings in the grassland at Glacier Ridge. (Adam Brandemihl)


Slate Run

Several yellow-breasted chats were seen and heard at the wetlands. Hike the Kokomo Trail and look for this beautiful warbler.

Yellow-breasted chat at Clear Creek
Yellow-breasted chat (Bruce Miller)

Tell us what birds you’ve been seeing in the parks and share your photos with us, #birdsofmetroparks