Columbus South Birding Drive

Birding Drives are routes for birding trips which can be accomplished in one day, stopping to walk and bird at various eBird hotspots. For each birding drive, a Google map is provided with the route and suggested stops at eBird hotspots. You may save the link to the Google map on your smartphone or tablet, or print a copy on paper to take with you. Links are provided with information about each eBird hotspot. Follow those links for more information about birding each location.

Columbus South Birding Drive
Click on the hotspot names below to view the page about that hotspot.

This Birding Drive explores eBird hotspots in Franklin County. When you submit checklists here you help to add to the data about birds in this region of Ohio.

Prairie Oaks Metro Park--Darby Bend Lakes (Franklin Co.)

West Jefferson, Ohio 43162

From I-71, take Exit 85 for OH-142 toward Jefferson and Plain City. Turn north onto Northeast Plain City-Georgesville Road and drive 2.1 miles. Turn right onto Lucas Road and go 0.5 miles. Continue Straight onto Beach Road for 0.2 miles. Turn right onto Amity Road and go 0.4 miles. Turn right and arrive at parking for Darby Bend Lakes in the Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

Prairie Oaks features nearly 500 acres of lush prairies and grasslands. In late summer and early fall, visitors can see fields of beautifully flowering ashy sunflower, royal catchfly and purple coneflower against a backdrop of big and little bluestem and Indian grasses.

The spectacular and lush scenery of the Big Darby State and National Scenic River, which flows through the park, provides a beautiful backdrop for outdoor adventure.

The Sycamore Plains Trail system offers a spectacular trek along Big Darby Creek through a mature wooded floodplain.

Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus

1000 Greenlawn Avenue Columbus, Ohio 43223

From Prairie Oaks Metro Park, turn right onto Amity Road and drive 3.2 miles. Turn left onto Feder Road and drive 3.4 miles. Turn left onto Hilliard Rome Road, use the right lane to merge onto I-70 east, and drive 4.6 miles. Keep right at the fork to stay on I-70 east for 3 miles. Take Exit 99A for I-71. Merge onto I-71 south for 0.4 miles. Take Exit 105 for Greenlawn Avenue. Turn right onto Greenlawn Avenue and go 1 mile. Arrive at Green Lawn Cemetery.

Green Lawn Cemetery is nationally recognized as a birding location and is listed in the National Geographic Guide to Bird Watching Sites. Another book that extols the birding virtues of Green Lawn is Birds of Ohio by James S. McCormac. Green Lawn has also been designated as an ‘Important Bird Area’ by Audubon Ohio.

Over 200 species have been identified in Green Lawn and hundreds of bird watchers visit the park each year to view, photograph and record their bird sightings. The Columbus Audubon Society has regular tours of Green Lawn, especially in the spring and autumn months of the year.

Lou Berliner Park

From Green Lawn Cemetery, drive east on Greenlawn Avenue for 1.3 miles. Turn right onto Deckenbach Road and go .3 mile. Arrive at Lou Berliner Park.

This athletic park is currently the nation’s largest softball complex with both open fields for the public and reserved fields for organized leagues. Many flag football leagues also use the Berliner Sports Complex multiple football fields to play. All athletes are welcome to enjoy one of the many courts, fields or cages.

Berliner Sports Complex also has a lot to offer those who do not participate in the sporting events. There is a pavilion area available for picnicking, trails for walking and a playground for children.

Scioto Audubon Metro Park

400 West Whittier Street Columbus Ohio 43215

From Lou Berliner Park, turn right onto Deckenbach Road and go 0.3 miles. Turn left onto Greenlawn Avenue and drive 0.5 miles. Turn left onto Harmon Avenue and go 0.3 miles. Turn right onto Stimmel Road and drive 1.6 miles. Turn right onto Brown Road and drive 0.8 miles. Turn right onto Harrisburg Pike and go 0.1 miles. Turn right onto West Mound Street and go 0.3 miles. Turn left to merge onto I-70 east and drive 1.5 miles. Take Exit 100A toward US-23. Merge onto West Fulton Street, turn right onto South Front Street, and go 0.6 miles. Turn right onto West Whittier Street and drive 0.6 miles. Arrive at the parking area for Scioto Audubon and the Observation Deck.

Scioto Audubon is a 120-acre oasis in the downtown heart of a major city. It’s a partnership effort between Metro Parks, the City of Columbus Recreation and Parks Department and Audubon Ohio. The park sits on the bank of the Scioto River on the Whittier peninsula in Columbus, already a magnet for shorebirds and birds of prey. Metro Parks has created seven wetland cells in the park, approximately five acres in total, to enhance the wildlife habitat. Wetland birds such as wood ducks, blue-winged teal and sandpipers have been attracted to the park, along with egrets, northern pintail ducks, pied-billed grebe, American bittern, herons, and osprey.

As well as birding, visitors can enjoy fishing, boating, hiking and jogging. The park is developing other recreational resources and has the largest free outdoor climbing wall in the United States available for experienced climbers to enjoy. The three towers and two arches of the main climbing wall reach a height of 35 feet and extend over 6,100 square feet. Climbers must bring their own gear and equipment, including ropes, and must sign a liability waiver before using the wall for the first time. A shade structure with seating is available nearby the climbing wall, as well as sand volleyball courts and Neos, an interactive electronic game. There are two dog parks on a 2-acre site, one for large dogs and one for small dogs, each with an obstacle activity course.

Audubon Ohio operates a downtown nature center inside the park, the Grange Insurance Audubon Center at 505 West Whittier Street.

Pickerington Ponds (Franklin Co.)

Wright Road Canal Winchester, Ohio 43110

From Scioto Audubon, drive southeast on West Whittier Street for 0.7 miles. Turn left onto South High Street for 0.7 miles. Turn right onto East Mount Street and go 0.1s mile. Use the middle lane to turn right onto South Third Street and go 0.1 miles. Use the left 2 lanes to merge onto I-70 east and drive 9.1 miles. Take Exit 110A for Brice Road south. Merge onto Brice Road and go 0.5 miles. Continue straight onto Gender Road and drive 2.5 miles. Turn left onto Wright Road and drive 1 mile. Turn right onto Bownen Road and then left on Wright Road. Arrive at Pickerington Pond Metro Park.

Designated as one of Ohio’s Important Birding Areas by Audubon Ohio, Pickerington Ponds is a premier spot for observing more than 260 species of birds. The combination of seasonal ponds and rich wetland vegetation, with bordering woodlands, serves as a magnet for migrating waterfowl, shorebirds, and land birds.

Located on the southeast side of Ellis Pond is a great blue heron rookery that has held up to 50 nests during the breeding season.

More than 400 acres of the site have been dedicated as a nature preserve. White-tailed deer, beaver, red fox and other wildlife can be seen near the ponds and adjoining woodlots and fields.

Osprey established a nest at Pickerington Ponds in 2008 and have had babies there from 2009 onward. They return in March each year and can be viewed from the observation deck at the Glacier Knoll Picnic Area on Bowen Road, which has a spotting scope.

Take some time to enjoy the colorful nature mural, created by students from Pickerington Elementary School, at the Bowen Road entrance.

Four miles of scenic trails wind through the fields and around the ponds. Bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts can hop on a 0.8-mile section of the Blacklick Creek Greenway Trail at the Glacier Knoll Picnic Area. From Glacier Knoll, the trail extends nine miles west and south to Three Creeks Park. Also from Glacier Knoll, it extends 1.25 miles east to Refugee Road, and from Refugee Road another 2.25 miles to Blacklick Woods Metro Park.