Huron River Flats--OH-2

Huron River Flats--OH-2

Huron, Ohio 44839

Also, see all the hotspots at:
Huron River Birding Drive

Tips for Birding

The Huron River is especially broad and shallow here, with brushy islands, mudflats, and shallows on either side of the large bridge conveying OH-2 over the river. In winter and migrations, when the river is not too high, it is very attractive to birds, especially shorebirds and roosting gulls.

The best viewing site can be reached by taking US-6 east of midtown in Huron across the river. Watch for a sign for River Road on the right soon after the bridge, and turn right there. About a mile ahead, a wide area in the river will appear on the right hand, with railroad tracks intervening. Find a safe place to pull over—the best place is just before you reach the massive OH-2 bridge and park. Walk to a good viewing point of the shallows and mudflats and brushy islands in the riverbed.

The railroad tracks take a sharp turn here, and make it difficult to see trains coming in time, and difficult for them to see you: do NOT stand on or near the railroad tracks.

Unfortunately, distances are great here, and a good scope is necessary. Morning light is best; after noon viewing becomes increasingly difficult. This is not a major birding destination, but can be a good stop between more important venues.

Open all year during daylight hours.

Parking Areas: None. Just pull off the road, carefully, before the massive OH-2 bridge.

Birds of Interest

Gull roosts in the thousands persist a bit after freeze-up.
Shorebirds in season can be rather numerous here, if not always possible to identify because of the distance involved.
Shorebirds in season can be rather numerous here, if not always possible to identify because of the distance involved.

About this Location

The 14-mile long main branch of the Huron River begins at the confluence of the East Branch Huron and West Branch Huron rivers just west of Milan. The river empties into Lake Erie in the city of Huron. Headwaters for the branches are in Fitchville Township (Huron County) and Blooming Grove Township (Richland County), respectively, and are 30 miles and 50 miles long, respectively.

The word “Huron” refers to a Native American tribe that was prevalent in the Great Lakes region prior to European settlement. Variant names have included Bald Eagle Creek, Notowacy Thepy, and Pettquotting River, among others. Much of the river system flows through Huron and Erie counties which together comprise a large amount of “the Firelands,” the westernmost portion of the Connecticut Western Reserve. Established in 1792, the Firelands had been reserved for Connecticut residents whose homes were burned during the British raids of the late 1700s during the Revolutionary War. In the early 1800s, settlers began populating the area.

In 1839 the Milan Canal opened. The canal paralleled the east bank of the Huron River and connected the village of Milan to Lake Erie. During the canal’s prime, Milan thrived as Lake Erie’s largest inland port and as one of the busiest Great Lakes ports. Inventor Thomas Alva Edison’s birth home overlooked the canal in downtown Milan. The Milan Canal era ended in 1868, due to flooding as a result of a feeder dam failure.

The lower Huron River near the city so named is an estuarine environment as water and habitat within the channel and adjacent marsh are influenced by Lake Erie water levels. Catfish (channel and flatheads), smallMouth bass, perch, and walleye are popular fishing catches near the lake while northern pike and smallMouth bass are found farther upriver. The river offers recreational boaters many commercial and publicly-available ramps and marinas.

No restroom facilities.

Content from Ohio Ornithological Society