Mason County

Sand Ridge State Forest

Sand Ridge is a large expanse (over 7,000 acres) of mixed oak woods, savanna and planted pines.  The habitats offer exceptional birding year-round.

Breeding species include Pileated Woodpecker, Broad-winged Hawk, Barred Owl, Whip-poor-will, Wood Thrush, Orchard Oriole, White-eyed Vireo, Northern Mockingbird, Blue Grosbeak. Pine warbler has bred in the pines near the parking lot west of Cactus Drive and south of Co Rd 2500N (teal-blue marker, below). Along Co Rd 2500N west of the Fish Hatchery entrance, listen for Prairie Warbler. For many years, Sand Ridge had been reliable for Chuck-will’s-widow, but none have been found in recent years. Still, it is worth listening for if you are there on a spring or summer evening.

The Virginia pines near the intersection of Co Rd 2300N (Goofy Ridge Rd) and Co Rd 2300E often has Red Crossbills and White-winged Crossbills during migrations and winter. Evening Grosbeak, Common Redpoll, Pine Siskin and Red-breasted Nuthatch have been found here also.

The Jake Wolf Fish Hatchery, north of Co Rd 2500N east of Cactus Drive (2600E) is a good place to check for herons and egrets.

At the intersection of Cactus Drive and 2300N is the campground. From here, Cactus Drive continues south and becomes Forest City Rd. Staying to the right takes you onto Bishop Road, which is a quiet, sandy road through woodland and savanna. Red-headed Woodpecker, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Kentucky Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, Summer Tanager, Blue Grosbeak, and all of the expected species breed here. In winter, huge flocks of American Robins can be found here. Other wintering species include Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Hermit Thrush and Fox Sparrow.

View Larger Map