Old Woman Creek

Tips for Birding

This 571-acre site is a state nature preserve, and is also part of the National Estuarine Reserve system. The centerpiece of the preserve is the estuary, which is really the widened mouth of Old Woman Creek where it meets Lake Erie. There is a barrier beach along the lake, marshes, and swamp and upland woods.

An outstanding visitor’s center is on site, and numerous research projects are conducted at this site. Birding can be fantastic; over 300 species have been recorded here or in the immediate vicinity. There is an active Bald Eagle nest, and a good variety and numbers of waterfowl use the estuary seasonally. Shorebird numbers and diversity can be good along the beach, and migrating songbirds sometimes stop in large numbers in the wooded habitats.

Off US-6, on the eastern edge of the city of Huron.

The preserve is open year round, 8 am to 5 pm daily. The visitor’s center is open seasonally.

There is a paved parking lot at the visitor’s center, which allows easy access to the area.

Old Woman Creek Nature Preserve is a stop on the Lake Erie Birding Trail.

Birds of Interest

Depending on the severity of the winter, gulls and waterfowl can be of interest, and it’s always worthwhile to check the feeders at the visitor’s center. Bald Eagles are usually around.
Good numbers and diversity of neotropical migrants, waterfowl, shorebirds. Watch overhead for migrating raptors.
Nesting Bald Eagles often in evidence, sometimes interesting shorebirds or other waterbirds.
Good numbers and diversity of neotropical migrants, migrating raptors, shorebirds, and waterfowl.

About this Location

Old Woman Creek National Estuarine Research Reserve is part of a network of 28 coastal reserves connected nationally through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to address state and regional coastal management needs through research, education, and stewardship. The National Estuarine Research Reserve System uses its network of living laboratories to help understand and find solutions to crucial issues facing America’s coastal communities.

Located in Huron, Ohio on the south-central shore of Lake Erie, Old Woman Creek is one of the state’s few remaining examples of a natural estuary. As a transition zone between land and water, the site contains a variety of habitats including marshes and swamps, upland forests, open water, tributary streams, barrier beach and near-shore Lake Erie. The Reserve supports a diverse assemblage of native plants and animals representative of freshwater estuaries.

Old Woman Creek Reserve is managed as a cooperative partnership between NOAA and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife. Old Woman Creek is also an Ohio State Nature Preserve. Old Woman Creek Visitor Center

The Reserve’s administrative offices are located in the Mike DeWine Center for Coastal Wetland Studies overlooking the estuary’s eastern shore. The Center provides laboratories for ecological research and serves as a focal point for public visitation and education programs. A comprehensive renovation completed in 2003 incorporated many green building materials and construction techniques.


  • Restrooms on site

Content from Old Woman Creek National Estuarine Research Reserve website and Ohio Ornithological Society