Lake Metroparks reveals the best spots to get a bird’s eye view

Mimi Promo Metroparks
Palm Warbler. Photo by David Trevarthen

By Mimi Vanderhaven

Heralded by World Migratory Bird Day on Saturday, May 9, this month provides one of nature’s finest marvels—the return of migratory birds to Ohio. After spending winter in Central and South America, our feathered friends will travel as many as 600 miles per day during their annual trek home to their nesting grounds.

To prepare for the flight, in the weeks leading up to migration, they enter a phase called hyperphagia, where hormone levels compel them to increase their body weight to use as energy, oftentimes as much as doubling their actual weight.

“Birding is a great way to connect with the natural world around you,” says Caitlin Ambrose, interpretive manager at Lake Metroparks. “Here in Lake County, we are fortunate to have wetlands, lakes, forests, fields and shorelines to attract many species. In fact, in 2019 more than 335 species of birds were represented in Lake County. A large variety of migrating birds including warblers, sparrows, waterfowl, shorebirds, hawks and owls can be found here.”

Wondering where the best places are to birdwatch? She says Chagrin River Park, Lake Erie Bluffs and Veterans Park are three top spots.

“Warblers and sparrows frequent Chagrin River Park, which has a variety of habitats,” explains Caitlin.

Lake Erie Bluffs brings a great opportunity to see all varieties of birds, from hawks and falcons to warblers, sparrows and waterfowl. This park is situated along the edge of Lake Erie in Perry and provides great habitat, food and protection for migrating birds.

“Veterans Park in Mentor is ideal for waterfowl,” she says. “In fall 2019, a limpkin (a rare bird from Florida) was found feeding on the snails and other aquatic invertebrates at the park. Common waterfowl you will find are ruddy ducks, wood ducks and buffleheads, but there are also many more to be found.”

To learn more about birding opportunities at Lake Metroparks, visit At the time of printing this issue, Lake Metroparks’ trails are open. Fountains are turned off and restrooms are available for emergency use only. Check for updates to open/closed areas. Visit Lake Metroparks’ birding blog and join the Facebook Birding Group.