Exciting Birding Locations in the Ohio & Erie Canalway

Looking for opportunities to observe our winged friends in our National Heritage Area? Learn more about what birds you can see here and what locations are prime birdwatching spots.

Did you know there are more than 250 bird species in Cuyahoga Valley National Park? There are plenty of opportunities to see the iconic great blue heron or the majestic bald eagle, nesting in treetop rookeries and soaring above beaver-filled wetlands. 

The region also boasts several Important Bird Areas (IBAs) that are great for viewing. Spring birding in the Ohio & Erie Canalway peaks in April and May with thousands of migrating beauties arriving daily, but one of the area’s most sought out species, the Blue Heron, can be spotted from February through June. The fall season runs September to November.

What to Know Before You Go Birding

ABA Code of Birding Ethics – Join us in observing these guidelines when viewing both our two-winged and four-footed Canalway neighbors.

Trail & Preserve Guidelines - Follow these rules for a safe and enjoyable journey.

Canalway Fast Facts – Read about trail surfaces, boarding stations and key roads.

Blue Heron in Akron

Ready to start spring birding? Here are some of our favorite spots: 

Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve

Looking for a nature experience near the heart of downtown Cleveland? Look no further than this hidden treasure and wildlife haven. More than 280 species of birds have been documented at this site managed by the Port of Cleveland. 

Beaver Marsh 

This spot is on Ohio’s Watchable Wildlife locations list for a reason. A diversity of birds call this beautiful location right along the Ohio & Erie Canalway Towpath Trail home. You may even see turtles, beavers, or river otters while there!

Bath Road Heronry

Take a turn onto Bath Road in north Akron for your opportunity to view the nesting habits of one of Ohio’s largest bird species, the great blue heron. Standing 4-feet tall and with a wingspan of 7 feet, this area is one of the best to view these majestic birds from February to June.


Summit Lake

Summit Lake is quickly becoming a popular destination for visitors of the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area and a great spot to look for wildlife. Stand on its shores and view the majesty of blue herons, osprey, bald eagles, and a variety of other waterfowl. 

Nimisila Reservoir

This Summit Metro Park is an important habitat for many birds, including waterfowl, eagles, and osprey. In August, watch as thousands of purple martins roost on the grassy islands and feed on insects before continuing their migratory journey south.

Jackson Bog State Nature Preserve

From the mile-long boardwalk in this state nature preserve, you can keep your eyes peeled for a variety of unique birds, including certain species of warblers and sparrows. Other birds can be heard throughout the woodlands, and seen along the bog’s edge.


Sippo Lake Park

Traverse a network of trails that take you through wetlands and woodlands, with the opportunity to view a variety of waterfowl along the way. Follow the lake trail and keep an eye out for warblers, herons, and other birds that call the park area home.

Zoar Wetland Arboretum

Birding is just one of the many activities to take part at this natural spot near Historic Zoar Village. While here, spot the  variety of waterfowl and large birds that call this destination home.


Posted: February 17, 2022

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