Meigs County 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.

Meigs County Birding Drive
Click on the hotspot names below to view the page about that hotspot.

Meigs County is one of Ohio’s “under-birded” counties (fewer than 1000 eBird checklists). This Birding Drive explores eBird hotspots in the county. When you submit checklists here you help to add to the data about birds in this region of Ohio.

Belleville Locks and Dam (Ohio)

Reedsville, Ohio 45772

From US-50, turn south on OH-144 and drive 4.6 miles. Turn right onto OH-124 west and drive 5.4 miles. Turn left onto Dam Drive and arrive at the Belleville Locks and Dam.

This facility provides a navigational pool 41.5 miles upstream to Willow Island Locks & Dam and is an integral link in the Ohio River navigation channel located at Reedsville. Construction Began in May 1962 and work is now completed. Construction of the locks was initiated in June 1963 and they were placed in operation 12 October 1965. The dam was started in September 1964 and the pool was raised to full height 1 November 1968. This area is along the Lewis and Clark route.

Forked Run SP

63300 OH-124 Reedsville, Ohio 45772

Forked Run SP--Ohio River Access

Reedsville, Ohio 45772

From the Belleville Locks and Dam, turn left onto OH-124 and drive 2.9 miles. Turn right into Forked Run State Park.

Forked Run State Park lies in the forested hill country of southeastern Ohio. This is Ohio’s oldest landscape never reached by the glacial ice that once covered much of Ohio. Although this area was untouched by the massive ice sheets, torrents of glacial meltwaters hastened the carving of the valleys and hillsides into their present-day form.

Much of the area, now heavily forested, was once void of timber. Trees were cut to fuel the many iron furnaces of the area in the mid-1800s. Today, much of the forest has regrown, and vast stands of oak, hickory, maple, and tuliptree clothe the deep ravines and hillsides. Wildflowers can be found in bloom except in winter months. Wild blue phlox, bloodroot, dame’s rocket, cardinal flower, daisy fleabane, goldenrod, and asters provide colorful displays. In spring, the hillsides burst forth with brilliant blooms of dogwood and redbud.

The forest and fields provide habitat for a variety of wildlife species including gray fox, raccoon, opossum, gray squirrel, white-tailed deer, and wild turkey. Many songbirds enjoy the refuge of the forest including wood thrush, white-breasted nuthatch, scarlet tanager, pileated woodpecker, and whip-poor-wills.

Shade River State Forest

Long Bottom, Ohio 45743

From Forked Run State Park, turn left onto OH-124 west and drive 1.8 miles. Continue straight onto OH-248 west and drive 2 miles. Turn right onto Success Road and drive 1.7 miles. Turn right onto Natural Resources Road 10 and arrive at Shade River State Forest.

Nestled in the rolling hills of southeastern Ohio, Shade River State Forest encompasses mostly wooded country. Native hardwoods grow on what was formerly abandoned, unproductive farmland.

In the 1950s, a few abandoned field areas were planted with different species of pines including white, red and loblolly pine. In addition, many acres of native Virginia pine, shortleaf pine, and pitch pine are present. Modern forestry practices are evident throughout the forest. Large blocks of Virginia pine are being harvested for conversion to hardwood species, which are more beneficial and have greater commercial value.

The forest is open year-round to hunting, hiking, and general sight-seeing. Camping, swimming, and fishing are available in nearby Forked Run State Park. Portions of the forest are within sight of the Ohio River near the Belleville Locks and Dam at Reedsville. Truck farming is common on the rich floodplain soil near the river. Crops of cabbage, tomatoes, sweet corn and cucumbers are produced.

Buffington Island Battlefield Memorial Park

Portland, Ohio 45770

From Shade River State Forest, turn left onto Success Road and drive 1.7 miles. Turn left onto OH-248 east and drive 2 miles. Turn right onto OH-124 west and drive 6.9 miles. Arrive at Buffington Island Battlefield Memorial Park.

This 4-acre memorial park is the site of the only significant Civil War battle on Ohio soil. Here, a Union army chased and cornered the Confederate cavalry commanded by Gen. John Hunt Morgan as they were trying to escape across the Ohio River. Spoiler Alert: The battlefield is near the bank of the Ohio River, not on the nearby island.

Oldtown Creek

Racine, Ohio 45771

From Buffington Island Battlefield Memorial Park, turn right onto OH-124 west and drive 5.8 miles. Arrive at Oldtown Creek.

Oldtown Creek has an Ohio Department of Natural Resources fishing access point west of the creek. The access road runs south of OH-124.

Wilson Wetlands Wildlife Area

OH-7 Middleport, Ohio 45760

From Racine Hydro Picnic Area, drive northeast on OH-124 for 4.2 miles. Turn left to stay on OH-124 for 1.9 miles. Turn right onto Pine Grove Road and drive 1.7 miles. Turn left to stay on Pine Grove Road for 2 miles. Turn right to stay on Pine Grove Road for .4 mile. turn right to stay on Pine Grove Road, then turn left onto US-33 west and drive 3.7 miles. Continue straight onto OH-7 south and drive 6.6 miles. Arrive at Wilson Wetlands Wildlife Area.

Wilson Wetlands Wildlife Area is a public wetland where hunting is permitted. It is located next to a busy highway and an active sawmill. A small parking area provides access from OH-7.

Meigs Soil and Water Conservation Area

New Lima Road Rutland, Ohio 45775

From Wilson Wetlands Wildlife Area, drive northeast on OH-7 for 2.7 miles. Turn left onto OH-124 west and drive 4.2 miles. Continue straight onto Main Street and go .3 mile. Continue straight onto New Lima Road for 2.3 miles. Arrive at Meigs Soil and Water Conservation Area.

The Meigs Soil and Water Conservation District acquired the Conservation Area on June 13, 2003, with the assistance of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Clean Ohio Green Space Conservation Fund. The Meigs Soil and Water Conservation District has steadily been busy making improvements to the property including the construction of a gravel parking lot, a 1.5-mile loop trail, wetland and native grass and wildflower plantings.