Look for Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Yellow-breasted Chat, and Prothonotary Warbler at this popular birding site on the Little Miami River.
By Ronald Zigler | Published: 2/22/2017
Whenever I visit family and friends in my hometown of Cincinnati, I make a trip to my favorite birding location: Otto Armleder Memorial Park. The park has been open only since 2006, but it has quickly become a favorite among local birders.
It is easy to see why. Last June, I encountered numerous Indigo Buntings and Cedar Waxwings, along with several Yellow-breasted Chats and Eastern Meadowlarks, which nest there. Blue Grosbeaks may be among the more popular attractions. The treasure of birds and habitat exists despite a dog park in the center of the park, a soccer field, and a nearby golf course. I’ve seen a meadowlark perched on the chain-link fence that encloses the dog park. In the park’s southeast corner, Prothonotary Warblers breed along the river; take the trail near the canoe launch to look for them.
One local birder I met pointed out that Armleder is in the middle of a migratory route that leads to northern breeding grounds and one of Ohio’s most renowned stopovers, Magee Marsh, on Lake Erie. I especially enjoy birding the pond and open grassland in the early mornings. Later in the afternoon in the summer months, it is easier to find birds along the river and in nearby trees, when the sun is not in your eyes. — Ronald Zigler
Ronald Zigler is an associate professor of educational psychology at Penn State Abington and an amateur wildlife and bird photographer.
At a Glance
Click on the coordinates below to view location:
A perimeter band of deciduous trees separates the river from a large area of restored grassy meadow and prairie.
Flat. About three miles of paved trails, which connect to a five-mile trail around a nearby airport.
233 species. Blue- and Green-winged Teal, Northern Harrier, Red-shouldered Hawk, Short-eared Owl, Common Nighthawk, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Willow Flycatcher, Green Heron, Spotted Sandpiper, American Woodcock, Wilson’s Snipe, Eastern Kingbird, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Cedar Waxwing, Prothonotary, Yellow-rumped, and Yellow Warblers, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-breasted Chat, Horned Lark, White-crowned and Swamp Sparrows, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Dickcissel, Baltimore and Orchard Orioles, and Eastern Meadowlark.
When to go
Central pavilion has restrooms. Picnic shelters, canoe launch, bike trails.
City and county park. No fees. Open daily, dawn until dusk. Ample parking. Nearest bus stops, for routes 24 and 28, about 0.4 miles from entrance.
Park at central pavilion to reach paved circular path, where you can look for Northern Harrier, Dickcissel, meadowlarks, and Blue Grosbeak (depending on season). At “Bean Field” and a nearby wide spot in the river, scan for ducks, herons, and shorebirds. Don’t neglect pond at northwest edge of park. During morning hours, use your car as a blind along park road from pond to canoe launch.
For more info
Otto Armleder Memorial Park
Great Parks, (513) 521-7275
Northwest of Armleder Park, on Observatory Ave. Warblers and other migrants in spring. In summer, gardens host hummingbirds.
The Oxbow and Shawnee Lookout, Hotspot Near You No. 44
28 miles west of Armleder, at the confluence of the Great Miami and Ohio Rivers. Numerous migrants.