Hueston Woods SP--Avian Research and Education Institute Bird Banding Station

About this Location

Established in April of 2004, the Hueston Woods Biological Station (HWBS) was the first Avian Research and Education Institute bird banding station that opened. Its location is in a secluded area below the dam of Acton Lake in the Hueston Woods State Park, Preble, and Butler Counties. This 10-acre area is comprised of mainly successional woods with marshy and edge areas. Banders started with just 10 nets and expanded to about 40 nets in 2008. Banding here is weather dependent, as the station is outside and exposed to the elements. If it is too cold, too hot, raining, or windy, they will not band. Parking is limited, and the nearest restroom facilities are an uphill walk of about 0.5 miles. As rough as the site is, it is a favorite place to band. Banders discover great diversity here and have recapture records for every year since 2004. Birds return to this area every year on their way up north to breeding grounds and down south to overwinter. Two Wood Thrushes have been recaptured in the same net, on about the same day of the year, for 3 years straight!

From Oxford: Take Brown Road north out of Oxford, toward Hueston Woods State Park. Brown Road will dead end at Loop Road of Hueston Woods State Park. Turn right (east) onto Loop Road and travel about 3 miles. You will come down a long hill before the bridge that crosses the creek from the spillway of the dam. Before you get to the bridge (maybe 50 yards), you will see a service drive on the left, the drive has a gate that is generally closed and locked. That is the entrance to Hueston Woods Biological Station. When we are banding, the gate will be open. Unfortunately, there is very limited parking inside the service drive, so please park outside the gate, or park down at the bridge in the fossil collecting parking lot.

About Hueston Woods State Park

See all hotspots at Hueston Woods State Park

The rich soils of the area are part of the glacial till plains of western Ohio. Early settlers cleared the dense woodlands to farm the fertile soil. Nearly all of Ohio’s original forest has since vanished. However, one unique stand of virgin timber remains at Hueston Woods. Over 200 acres have been protected and provide visitors with a glimpse of Ohio’s primeval forest. Stately beech and sugar maple tower above the abundance of ferns, wildflowers, and other woodland species. In 1967, the 200-acre forest was designated a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service.

Hueston Woods State Park located in southwest Ohio has an enormous wealth of natural resources. The limestone bedrock of the area is evidence of an ancient shallow sea that once covered Ohio. Much of the limestone is the magnesium-bearing type called dolomite. Fossilized remains of ancient marine animals are so abundant that people from all over the world come to Hueston Woods to collect them.


  • Restrooms on site

  • Wheelchair accessible trail

  • Entrance fee

  • Roadside viewing

Content from Avian Research and Education Institute Bird Banding Station webpage and Hueston Woods State Park website