Miami 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.

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

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

Charleston Falls Preserve

Ross Road Tipp City, Ohio 45371

From the intersection of I-70 and I-75, take I-75 north for 1.8 miles. Take Exit 64, turn left onto Northwoods Boulevard, and then turn right onto Engle Road. Drive .7 mile and turn right onto Old Springfield Road. In .9 mile turn right to stay on Old Springfield Road. In .7 mile continue onto Ross Road. Arrive at Charleston Falls Preserve in .9 mile.

Charleston Falls Preserve has over 216 acres of prairie and forests and nearly 4 miles of trails. It’s the perfect place to hike and view wildlife. The most unusual feature of this preserve is the unique waterfall.

Charleston Falls Preserve is the most visited Park District property in Miami County with over 216 acres of prairie and forests. This beautiful park is the perfect place to hike and view wildlife. Uncommon plants such as wild columbine, walking fern, purple cliff break, and rock honeysuckle grace the limestone faces of the surrounding gorge.

The most unusual feature of this preserve is the unique waterfall. The Falls can rightly be called a “Miniature Niagara” because its rock strata is the same as Niagara Falls. Originating from small underground springs several miles to the east, the stream creating the falls plummets 37 feet then continues its meandering journey to the Great Miami River.

Over three miles of trails pass through various habitats such as Redbud Valley and the Thorny Badlands, offering explosions of color and varieties of scenic wonder. Help protect this unique natural site by using the trials provided and following the rules of the Preserve.

Brukner Nature Center

5995 Horseshoe Bend Road Troy, Ohio 45373

From Charleston Falls Preserve, drive west on Ross Road for .9 mile. Continue straight onto Old Springfield Road and go 1.6 miles. Turn left onto Engle Road for .7 mile. Turn left onto Northwoods Boulevard and merge left onto I-75 north. Drive 8.8 miles on I-75 to Exit 73. Take Exit 73 for OH-55, turn left onto OH-55, and drive 2.6 miles. Make a slight right onto Horseshoe Bend Road and drive 2.3 miles. Arrive at Brukner Nature Center on the left.

In 1933 Clayton Brukner, owner of the Waco Aircraft Company, bought 146 acres of land along the Stillwater River. The land was not known for its productivity but rather for its natural beauty. Here were wooded hills and valleys, a great variety of trees, shrubs, and wildflowers, streams and perpetually flowing springs.

Mr. Brukner envisioned the land being used for a nature center for many years. In 1966 he had the land surveyed and after receiving high praise to the educational potential he started putting his plan into motion. In 1967 he unveiled his plans for the center to a group representing 12 local schools and one local university. In 1974 the center was opened to the public under the direction of Bob and Joan Heidleberg.

Through the years Brukner Nature Center has grown to a 165-acre nature preserve dedicated to environmental education and wildlife rehabilitation. Six miles of trails traverse a variety of habitats including wetland, forest, and prairie. The Interpretive Building houses an Auditorium and meeting rooms available for educational events, a nature shop featuring local artists, and wildlife exhibit, including over 40 wildlife ambassadors. Also on site is the 1804 Idding’s log home, the oldest structure in Miami County on its original site, and a wildlife rehabilitation unit to educate people with concerns about Ohio’s wildlife.

Garbry Big Woods Reserve

Piqua, Ohio 45356

From Brukner Nature Center, return to I-75 going east on Horseshoe Bend Road for 2.3 miles. Make a slight left onto OH-55 east and drive 2.6 miles. Turn left to merge onto I-75 north toward Toledo and drive 5 miles. Take Exit 82, turn right onto US-36, and drive 4.7 miles. Turn right onto North Casstown-Sidney Road and arrive at Garbry Big Woods on the right in 1.4 miles.

Garbry Big Woods Reserve is located on Casstown-Sidney Road and the Sanctuary is located on Statler Road east of Piqua. The park is open from 8 a.m. to sunset every day of the year. An educational arboretum is located on the Reserve site south of the picnic shelters. This arboretum contains a variety of native Ohio trees and gives the public a chance to learn about their state trees by leaf, bark or bud. The Reserve area provides three picnic shelters, which can be reserved by calling the park district office, a stocked fishing pond that requires no fishing license and hiking trails. There are mowed areas around the shelters for games and restroom facilities. In keeping with the Park District’s mission of environmental protection, the restroom facility is one of the first of its kind in the state of Ohio that utilizes wetlands as its sanitary filtration system. Wetlands are known for their filtering and purification ability. The Ohio EPA, as well as other groups in the state, are interested in this wetland application for sanitation use. To broaden your experience and to help protect this unique natural site, please use the pathways provided and please obey the rules of the Sanctuary and Reserve.

Stillwater Prairie Reserve

9750 OH-185 Covington, Ohio 45318

Stillwater Prairie Reserve comprises 380-acres in northwestern Miami County in Newberry Township. The park offers two entrances. One located 1.5 miles west of OH-48 on OH-185, another is south of OH-185 on Rangeline Road. You may wish to explore one or both areas on this drive.

To reach the main entrance from Garbry Big Woods, drive north on North Casstown-Sidney Road for 1.4 miles. Turn left onto US-36 west and drive 5.7 miles. Turn left onto Spring Street, turn right onto East High Street, and go 1.6 miles. Turn right onto OH-185 and drive 7.2 miles. Arrive at Stillwater Prairie Reserve.

Early settlers John and Elizabeth Hagan, originally from Adams County, Pennsylvania, built a sawmill in 1840 on the site using waterpower from the Stillwater River. In 1846, the old brick home was constructed. The old home can be seen from the trail and is now used as a maintenance area. The accompanying log barn was demolished several years ago. In 1849, Robert Aspinall, from England, purchased the property. The family continued here until 1886, making the Aspinall family the longest occupants of the site since the days of settlement.

Segments of the main trail follow the river over portions of the long-abandoned Hagan Road, built in the 1840’s. Passages through fields, woodland, marshy habitats and shrub lands complete the circle. Diverse topography and vegetation offer excellent outdoor opportunities for the average hiker, birdwatcher, cross-country skier, or photographer. Wetlands have been added to the diversity of habitat at the Reserve with an overlook platform for improved viewing of the wetland species which home there or pass through during migration.

Maple Ridge Reserve

10430 OH-185 Covington, Ohio 45318

From Stillwater Prairie Reserve, drive west on OH-185 for .7 mile. Arrive at Maple Ridge Reserve.

The Park District added 120 acres to the existing 260-acre Stillwater Prairie Reserve. The two properties join in an area which is a southern boundary for both properties and below the Stillwater River. The Coy property, now Maple Ridge, runs northwest with its eastern boundary encompassing the east side of the Stillwater River. The rest of the property spreads west and south.

Included on the property are woods that cover 70% of the land as mature woods and successional fields, including a sugar maple grove along with an old sugaring shack. Additionally, there are three ponds and several crop fields.

In the early 1970’s, The Miami County Park District considered the Coy property, found in Newberry Township, as land that needed to be preserved and saw it as a logical extension of the Stillwater Prairie Reserve, located off of OH-185. This same property was noted in the 1990 Miami County Green Space Plan as an area which fit into the purpose … “to preserve river corridors and greenways so that wildlife and natural vegetation can survive and to protect the beauty of the natural landscape for the people of Miami County.”

Since the Coy family has always been conservation-minded, it was met with great pleasure when the family decided to sell the property to the Park District. The Ohio chapter of the Nature Conservancy worked out a land trade with the family and then gave the Miami County Park District a letter of intent to sell them the property. The Park Board approved a grant request to the Land and Water Conservation Fund to help the Park District finance the purchase of the property.