Every season has something to offer. I have seen thousands of ducks and gulls in late winter and early spring floods. During spring migration, it’s not unusual to find 25 or more species of warbler in a morning. Shorebirds, herons, and terns occur in spring or fall, and Oxbow Inc., an organization dedicated to protecting the area, is working to create more habitats for them. Summer birding is great, too. My list from a recent July visit to Shawnee and the Oxbow included American White Pelican, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Peregrine Falcon, Black-billed Cuckoo, Northern Parula, Cerulean Warbler, and Blue Grosbeak. — Jay Stenger
At a Glance
Click on the coordinates below to view location:
Wetlands, a natural oxbow lake, several ponds, mudflats, flooded cropland, woodlands, open groves, and weedy fields.
Low-lying floodplains and wooded riparian corridor rising into upland forest.
281 species. Residents: hawks, owls, songbirds, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Wild Turkey, Pileated Woodpecker. Breeding: Peregrine Falcon, Prothonotary, Cerulean, Yellow-throated, and Blue-winged Warblers, Northern Parula, American Redstart, Blue Grosbeak. Migrants: waterfowl, gulls, terns, shorebirds, grebes, loons, cormorants, Sandhill Crane. Rarities: American White Pelican, Tricolored Heron, White Ibis, Brant, Eurasian Wigeon, Swallow-tailed Kite, Piping Plover, Ruff, Iceland and Little Gulls, Least Tern, Snowy Owl, Lark and Harris’s Sparrows.
When to go
Any time, but spring and fall offer the greatest diversity.
Restroom facilities and picnic areas at Shawnee Lookout. Golf course shop has food and drinks. The Oxbow has no amenities. Restaurants, gas stations, and lodging in nearby Lawrenceburg.
Shawnee Lookout: County park. Entrance fee $2 daily/$5 annual. Open from dawn to dusk year-round. Parking is free. Oxbow: Wetland preserve. No entry fee and no official hours. Keep cars on the roads; park well to the side. If roads are not drivable, park in the gravel lot near the entrance and walk in.
Dirt roads in Oxbow may be rough and muddy. Birding can be excellent when the valley is flooded, but access is limited to perimeter roads.
For more info
Shawnee Lookout, (513) 521-7275.
Birding in Cincinnati