Important Bird Areas

Rocky River-East Branch

Ohio

This IBA extends along the Rocky River riparian corridor through Medina and Cuyahoga Counties. It includes the Rocky River Reservation, Mill Stream Run Reservation, and Hinckley Reservation.
The Rocky River Reservation follows the floodplain forest of willow, sycamore, and cottonwood surrounded by massive shale cliffs. Hinckley Reservation is a heavily wooded tract just south of Cleveland, interspersed with open fields and a 90-acre lake. Extensive outcroppings of Sharon conglomerate, including Whipp's Ledges, are also of significance. Hiking trails and bridle trails offer access to many of the deeper woods.

Ornithological Summary

Hinckley is best known as the home of the Hinckley buzzards, and the large Turkey Vulture roost is a major media and public attraction. More important is the large block of deciduous woods with attendant nesting species. The spring wildflower display is one of the best in the area. Several large stands of Norway spruce, planted in the 1930s, now offer nesting habitat for some of Ohio's rarest nesting passerines, including Ohio's largest breeding population of Golden-crowned Kinglets.
In addition to supporting large populations of typical nesting neotropical migrants, Hinckley also is home to several rare or marginal nesters, including Golden-crowned Kinglets, Red-breasted Nuthatches, and coniferous obligate warblers such as Magnolia Warblers and Blackburnian Warblers, etc. Twenty species of warblers have been recorded during the breeding season. The area, including mudflats along the lakeshore, harbors many migrants including passerines, shorebirds, waterfowl, etc.

Conservation Issues

The Hinckley Metropark is one of the crucial reservations in the Cleveland Metroparks System. Its large expanse serves as a haven in a rapidly developing area and as such its importance will only grow. Threats posed by exotic animals and disturbance both relate to the recent overwhelming invasion of the gypsy moth. Their caterpillars have significantly defoliated a large portion of the reservation in the current decade.
Cuyahoga County Commissioners have greenspace concerns for the area. Migrants require an intact riparian corridor.