Big Walnut Important Bird Area

Big Walnut
Important Bird Area

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Entire Year – Spring – Summer – Fall – Winter

Locations

Delaware County
Galena Brick Trail--Miller Park
Hoover Nature Preserve
Hoover Nature Preserve--Area L
Hoover Nature Preserve--Area N
Hoover Nature Preserve--Boardwalk Area M
Hoover Nature Preserve--Gertrude S. Lawrence Woods
Hoover Nature Preserve--Hoover Meadows
Hoover Nature Preserve--Mud Hen Marsh
Hoover Nature Preserve--Old Sunbury Rd.
Hoover Nature Preserve--Oxbow Rd.
Hoover Reservoir (Delaware Co.)
Hoover Reservoir--Area D
Hoover Reservoir--Areas E and F
Hoover Reservoir--Maxtown Boat Launch
Hoover Reservoir--North
Hoover Reservoir--Sunbury Causeway and Baldridge Boat Ramp
Hoover Reservoir--Twin Bridges Boat Ramp
Hoover Scenic Trail, Plumb Rd. to Wiese Rd.
Ruffner Park
Walnut Creek Trail

Franklin County
Big Walnut Creek Parkland--Cambria Way
Big Walnut Creek Parkland--Lee Rd.
Blendon Woods Metro Park
Blendon Woods Metro Park--Disc Golf Course
Blendon Woods Metro Park--Goldenrod Trail
Blendon Woods Metro Park--Natural Playground
Blendon Woods Metro Park--Nature Center
Blendon Woods Metro Park--Sugarbush Trail
Blendon Woods Metro Park--Thoreau Pond
Cherry Bottom Park
Hoover Reservoir (Franklin Co.)
Hoover Reservoir--Area C
Hoover Reservoir--Area S
Hoover Reservoir--Area T
Hoover Reservoir--Hoover Dam Boat Dock
Hoover Reservoir--Hoover Dam Park
Hoover Reservoir--Smothers Rd. Bridge South
Hoover Reservoir--Spillway
Hoover Reservoir--Walnut Boat Ramp

About Big Walnut Important Bird Area

The Big Walnut IBA includes the Hoover Reservoir, Blendon Woods MetroPark, and the Big Walnut Creek corridor. The Hoover Nature Reserve (owned by Columbus City Parks and Recreation) functions as excellent Central Ohio shorebird habitat in late summer. The reservoir attracts waterfowl in the spring and fall.

The Big Walnut Creek runs along the boundary of till plain and a glaciated plateau to the east. Many streams have cut ravines down to this creek. Most of the ravines are largely wooded, and most of the creek still supports a fairly mature riparian forest. Most of the level uplands on either side have been developed as suburban housing. The Big Walnut floodplain to the south supports a fairly continuous riparian forest, with sizeable sycamores, cottonwoods, silver maples, and Ohio buckeyes.

The Big Walnut IBA connects Blendon Woods MetroPark and the riparian corridor. The “island’ of Blendon Woods and the Big Walnut corridor makes this IBA particularly attractive to migrant passerines. Most of Big Walnut, all the way to its junction with the Scioto River, still has an intact riparian strip, resulting from controlled floodplain development efforts by the Columbus Water Department and Gahanna’s conversion of nearly the entire riparian corridor into parks and conservation easements.

The unusual topography of the upper reservoir has created a series of marshes, swamps, and mudflats unusual for central Ohio. Consequently, this area acts as a magnet for birds that favor these habitats, both in migration and during the breeding season. Upland areas in public management (Hoover Dam Park and Blendon Woods MetroPark) have an interesting mix of oak-hickory and beech-maple woods bisected by many small ravines, which host species of birds typical of mixed mature woodlands. Both also include small areas of successional fields that produce old-field bird species uncommon in Franklin County: Yellow-breasted Chat, Eastern Towhee, Brown Thrasher, and Blue-winged Warbler. Priority birds along Big Walnut Creek and in Blendon Woods include American Black Duck, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and Blue-winged Warbler. Priority species in Hoover Reservoir include Black-crowned Night-Heron, Osprey, Bald Eagle, American Coot, and Prothonotary Warbler. The shorebird diversity is very high, ranking it among the top five shorebird sites away from Lake Erie.

From Big Walnut Important Bird Area webpage