Important Bird Areas

Scioto River-Greenlawn

Ohio

This IBA includes a relatively intact three-mile riparian corridor in a heavily urbanized area within the city limits of Columbus, Ohio, from the I-70/71 bridge south to the southern end of Berliner Park. Along the river corridor, it includes
a dam-produced basin, a seasonal mudflat, and rocky riffles downstream of the dam. The Greenlawn Dam (built in the 1930s) is the last dam on the Scioto south to the Ohio River, mote than 100 river miles distant. The 360-acre Green Lawn Cemetery and Arboretum is disjunct-one mile west-but included in this IBA. Public bicycle paths provide access to the area, and also make convenient walking paths for birders. The Grange Insurance Audubon Center is located within the 80-acre Scioto Audubon Metro Park at the north end on the Whittier Peninsula.

Ornithological Summary

This three-mile portion has had more species of birds recorded than any other stretch of the Scioto River, numbering at least 212 in the general area. This is a contiguous strip of habitat in a very urbanized zone and, along with the nearby Green Lawn Cemetery, provides habitat for high-priority species that use riparian corridors such as the Northern Pintail, Pied-billed Grebe, American Bittern, Osprey, at least 10 species of gulls and terns, Prothonotary Warbler, Northern Waterthrush,. and many other warbler species. It is particularly valuable to neotropical migrant songbirds, and functions especially as a migrant trap for warblers. Since the initial breeding and subsequent fostering of Peregrine Falcons into the breeding fauna of Ohio, this part of the Scioto has served as a hunting area for these raptors. It has been documented as a foraging area for Bald Eagle as well. Cliff Swallows nest under the interstate overpass above the river. While no evidence of breeding has been documented recently, it has historical importance as a breeding area for Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, a high conservation priority species.
The Green Lawn Cemetery attracts regular high numbers and diversity of migrant landbirds. All the eastern wood warblers occurring in Ohio have been recorded in spring migration as well as all of the regular Ohio flycatchers, thrushes, and vireos. Priority nesting species include Red-shouldered Hawk and Red-headed Woodpecker.

Conservation Issues

The Whittier Peninsula section is being restored with the removal of the infrastructure of buildings, warehouses, and an auto impound lot. Metro Parks and Audubon are targeting riparian corridor restoration and constructed wetland management. Human use will increase with the development of the Scioto Audubon Metro Park and Grange Insurance Audubon Center.