Gilmore Ponds

Gilmore Ponds Bird Banding Research started in 1998 with a spring migration study.  M.A.P.S. was added from 2006-2010 but had to be abandonded due to lack of volunteers during the summer. Fall migration was added in 2008.
Click on the Calendar link for current spring and fall migration banding dates as they are posted.

What is Gilmore Ponds?

Nearly hidden by an industrial park and an airport, Gilmore Ponds Interpretive Preserve provides over 200 acres of marsh, ponds, and other wetland wildlife habitat. This wildlife oasis lies entirely within the boundaries of the city of Hamilton Ohio, just north of Cincinnati. Each spring and fall the ponds teem with migratory waterfowl and songbirds. White-tailed deer frequent the area, along with red-tailed hawks, great blue heron, woodcock, red fox, raccoons, mink, weasels, leopard frogs, painted turtles, and many other mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Gilmore Ponds is one of just a few sites in Greater Cincinnati that hosts breeding wetland birds.

Where is Gilmore Ponds?

Gilmore Ponds is in Hamilton, Ohio. To get to Gilmore Ponds from Cincinnati, take I-275 to Ohio 4 north. Turn right on By-pass 4 to Symmes Road. Turn left and follow Symmes to Gilmore Road. Turn right and follow Gilmore to the parking lot on the right before the railroad tracks.

On Gilmore Ponds is an original painting. It is a gift from Mr Harper to the Gilmore Ponds Conservancy and MetroParks of Butler County. Printing costs were shared by Mr Greg Amend, park commissioner and Gilmore Ponds Conservancy. All proceeds will go to support MetroParks of Butler County. The officers and trustees of Gilmore Ponds Conservancy wish to express their sincerest thanks to Mr Harper for his generous gift. We hope that it will underscore the importance of wetland conservation which is the mission of Gilmore Ponds Interpretive Preserve. Posters can be purchased from MetroParks, 2200 Hancock Ave, Hamilton,OH 45011. Phone orders are taken at: 513-867-5835 or toll free at 1-877-727-5386. Prices are $12.00 picked up, or $15.00 mail order. Price includes tax, mailing tube, and postage (if mailed). 9×4 notecards are also available, four for $5.00.

© Charley Harper, 1998

From Big Pond


Gilmore Ponds

A Brief History of the Gilmore Ponds Area
1836 to 2002
Part I

The area we know today as Gilmore Ponds straddles two watersheds: the headwaters of the Mill Creek, which feeds into the Ohio River, begin about a mile to the northeast of the Ponds, and Pleasant Run, which runs into the Great Miami River, is just west of the Ponds. In the 1820s, the builders of the Miami-Erie Canal followed a path out of Cincinnati that followed the Mill Creek valley into the Gilmore Ponds area, and then into the Great Miami River valley north through Hamilton.At the time the canal was built, the site known today as Gilmore Ponds was on the western edge of a large swamp that the early settlers called “Big Pond.” Big Pond stretched east from Gilmore Ponds to approximately Seward Road. The Miami-Erie Canal formed the northern boundary of Big Pond—in fact, Big Pond seems to have been a large enough obstacle that the canal was specifically routed around the pond.In November 2002 Butler County MetroParks signed a long-term lease with the city of Hamilton which turned over to MetroParks a fifty-three acre portion of Big Pond east of Bypass 4 (See the photograph, below). MetroParks also received a twelve-acre parcel behind Hamilton Fixture containing a settling pond. The acreage behind Hamilton Fixture was also once part of Big Pond. During the nineteenth century there were three ice ponds in this spot.

The following maps and photographs document the changes that have occured over the past two hundred years in the area around Gilmore Ponds.

The above photo taken in October 2000 shows roughly how the area looks today. The Symmes Road extension east to State Route 747 was not built yet, but the other primary roads in the area are labeled in the photograph. Most of the labeled items in the photo should be self-explanatory. But moving from left to right (west to east) in the photograph are a few abbreviations:S= South Pond
E= East Pond (also known as “Old Ice Pond”)
HF= Hamilton Fixture Settling Pond
WCW= West Chester Wetlands
PU= Port UnionThe Miami-Erie Canal crosses SR 747 at Port Union, running northwest before turning more sharply north on the approach to Seward Road. At Seward Road the canal meets the Mill Creek at a railroad crossing in an area that used to be called Flockton. The butter knife shape formed by the Miami-Erie Canal on the south edge of the “knife” and the Mill Creek on the north edge, is visible in every map or photograph of the area in existence. From here, the canal runs southwest and then northwest and forms the northern boundary of present-day Gilmore Ponds. The northwest-southwest structure of the canal in this area around the Flockton butter knife was necessitated by the presence of Big Pond.

The above map dates from 1836 and shows the location of Big Pond. The bold, black line is the Miami-Erie Canal. The thin line running southeast to the left of section number 17 is the Mill Creek. It meets the canal near the spot labeled “Towpath Bridge,” forming the butter knife. Notice, too, the “Drain From Pond” that runs through what is today Gilmore Ponds. This drain, a ditch, really, was the first attempt to drain Big Pond to the west into Pleasant Run. According to this map, Big Pond was fed directly by Walker’s Run, which is depicted running north past section number 22 and into Big Pond above the letter “L.” Walker’s run still exists, though it, too, has been ditched and now it runs east of South Pond into the Miami-Erie Canal in the northeast corner of Gilmore Ponds.

The Birds of Gilmore Ponds: An annotated List

As part of the nomination process for the Audubon Ohio IBA program, the conservancy created an annotated list of every bird species recorded at Gilmore Ponds since 1900.

The list was created from four sources: Frank Renfrow’s 1983 report, The Birds of Gilmore Ponds; all the records pertaining to Gilmore Ponds from the database of the Cincinnati Bird Club, maintained by Ned Keller and David Styer; Tim Tolford’s banding records for 1998 and 1999; and the Gilmore Ponds breeding bird survey results from 1999 and 2000.

The list includes common breeders, occasional breeders, rarities, and migrants. For species for which there are five or less records, the date of each record and the number of birds seen (if such information is available) are noted in the comments column. For common migrants and regular breeders there are often no comments.

The annotated list is six pages long. The summer 2000 print issue contains the first of three installments of the bird list, and covers all the birds from common loon through herring gull.