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44. The Oxbow and Shawnee Lookout, Cincinnati, Ohio

Look for Peregrine Falcons, Cerulean Warblers, Blue Grosbeaks, and loads of other birds at the confluence of the Great Miami and Ohio Rivers.

The Oxbow and Shawnee Lookout area is worth a visit any time. Sitting at the confluence of the Great Miami and Ohio Rivers, the region is susceptible to frequent flooding, which attracts numerous waterfowl and shorebirds. The two rivers also form a natural migratory corridor for countless other birds.

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

Jay Stenger has been birding for nearly 30 years. He has been heavily involved with the Cincinnati Bird Club, Oxbow Inc., and other state bird groups.


44. The Oxbow and Shawnee Lookout, Cincinnati, Ohio


The Oxbow and Shawnee Lookout Park are part of a bird-rich floodplain on the Ohio-Indiana border. From northwest Cincinnati, take I-74 to I-275 south and exit at Kilby Rd. For Shawnee, drive about a mile south, turn right onto U.S. 50 and then left onto Lawrenceburg Rd. After the bridge, turn right and drive two miles to the entrance. For Oxbow, take U.S. 50 across the Ohio border. Cross Hwy. 1 and the I-275 ramp, go 200 yards, and turn left at Walnut St. (unmarked). Follow the road back to the Oxbow sign.

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At a Glance

Click on the coordinates below to view location:
39°7’53.94″N 84°47’49.55″W


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.
Oxbow Inc.
Birding in Cincinnati

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