At a Glance

Hours: Open daily sunrise to sunset, except for special events, and lit courts and ballfields that are open after dark. Bird with a buddy for safety, especially near dark.

Cost: Free, but admission is charged for the zoo.

Tips: Best birded with a buddy or two for safety.

Best Seasons: Good in all seasons, but spring and fall migration are especially productive.

Local MOS Chapter: Baltimore Bird Club

Druid Hill Park

900 Druid Park Lake Drive, Baltimore, MD 21217 (410) 396-7900

Construction Alert: The reservoir at Druid Hill Park is in the midst of a massive construction project to bring it into compliance with EPA requirements for storage of drinking water. Construction started in 2017 and is expected to continue until spring 2022. During construction, the paved walking trail around the reservoir may be inaccessible, and alternate routes will be posted. As a result of the project, part of the reservoir will be converted to a lawn surface. The project also includes other changes to the park grounds near the reservoir, including new  landscaping, a new, wider promenade, a new path near the reservoir lake edge for pedestrians and cyclists, and a new amphitheater. See the City of Baltimore Department of Public Works website for updates.

Druid Hill Park is a large (745 acres) and busy urban park located in the northwest area of the City of Baltimore. Druid Hill is known for its shady lawns, rolling hills, picturesque water features, and majestic forest. Dating to 1860, the park is one of the oldest urban parks in the country, and the entire park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Druid Hill is home to the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, established in 1876,and has numerous other attractions, including the Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens, built in 1888; a disc golf course; tennis courts; playgrounds; basketball courts; ball fields; athletic fields; an indoor swimming pool; picnic groves/pavilions; a City Farms Garden; a farmers’ market; and the Baltimore Model Safety City, where school children learn how to be safe pedestrians by walking in a miniaturized model of downtown Baltimore.

A notable feature of Druid Hill is its large man-made reservoir, about 55 acres in size and 30 feet deep. A 1.5 mile trail encircles the reservoir (See Construction Alert above). Other habitats at Druid Hill include streams, ponds, dense woods, and open lawns. The Jones Falls Trail, a hiking and biking trail, links the park with the Jones Falls corridor. The trail leaves the Jones Falls at the Woodberry Light Rail Station to enter the north end of Druid Hill Park and then runs along the west side of the park, before it circles Druid Hill Lake and exits at the southeast corner, where to continues to follow the Jones Falls south.

The park provides a gathering place for local residents, and is much used for festivals and other special events. Before you visit, check the event schedule at https://baltimore.org/neighborhoods/druid-hill-park.

Birdlife:

Over 185 species have been reported on eBird at Druid Hill Park. There are three separate eBird hotspots for the park:

The bird life at Druid Hill Park consists of a wide-range of passerines and raptors in the wooded areas and the fringe environment, and waterfowl, waders, and other waterbirds in and near the reservoir.  Species present year-round, or almost so, include Canada Goose; Mallard; Pied-billed Grebe; Great Blue Heron; Black and Turkey Vultures; Cooper’s Hawk; Red-shouldered Hawk; Red-tailed Hawk; Ring-billed, Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls; Rock Pigeon; Mourning Dove; Red-bellied, Downy, and Hairy Woodpeckers; Northern Flicker; Blue Jay; American and  Fish Crows; Carolina Chickadee; Tufted Titmouse; White-breasted Nuthatch; Carolina Wren; American Robin; Northern Mockingbird; European Starling; Song Sparrow; Eastern Towhee; Red-winged Blackbird; Common Grackle; House Finch; American Goldfinch; and House Sparrow.

Wintering waterfowl may include American Black Duck; Ring-necked Duck; Lesser Scaup; Bufflehead; Hooded Merganser; and Ruddy Duck; along with Common Loon; Horned Grebe; and American Coot. Wintering passerines include Red-headed Woodpeckers near the lake, both kinglets, and a variety of sparrows, such as White-throated, Swamp, and Fox.

The warm months bring a plethora of birds, notably Wood Ducks and Double-crested Cormorants on the lake, along with Green Heron, Great Egret, and both Black-crowned and Yellow-crowned Night-Herons.  As many as 2,000 Chimney Swifts have been observed entering the Conservatory chimney at dusk during spring and fall migration, and a large number are present overhead all through the summer. A good assortment of flycatchers, vireos, and swallows are also present throughout the summer, along with Blue-gray Gnatcatcher; Wood Thrush; Common Yellowthroat; Yellow Warbler; Brown Thrasher; Gray Catbird; Chipping Sparrow; and both Orchard and Baltimore Orioles.

Spring and fall migration is good for additional thrushes, warblers, and sparrows.

Parking:

Free parking throughout the park. Some of the parking is in paved lots, especially near the Zoo and the swimming pool. Additional roadside parking is available in designated areas.

Special Features:

The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, located within Druid Hill Park, features exhibits of both native and non-native birds. Also, wild local birds are attracted to the foods fed to the zoo’s animals, and often can be found foraging near the animal enclosures. Check out an interactive map of the Zoo grounds. ◾ Programs at the park are supported by the Friends of Druid Hill Park ◾ A mobile tour of historic features of Druid Hill Park is available at https://explore.baltimoreheritage.org/tour-builder/tours/show/id/15#.V63VeTUjq1B. ◾ The local chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society is the Baltimore Bird Club. The Baltimore Bird Club is the founding chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society, and remains an important hub of birding activity in the state. The club offers monthly meetings with informative presentations and a full schedule of field trips and bird walks, all free and open to the public. ◾ For a whimsical look at birding activities in Baltimore, check out the graphic arts booklet, “Birdland,” created by local artist Book Karnjanakit.

Directions:

From the North: Take I-83/Jones Falls Expressway to 28th Street/Druid Park Lake Drive, Exit #7. On the exit ramp, follow the signs for Druid Park Lake Drive. Continue west on Druid Park Lake Drive for a half mile and the lake will be on your right. Take a right onto Swann Drive which enters the park near its southwest corner.

Alternate route from the North (may have less traffic): Take I-83/ Jones Falls Expressway to Cold Spring Lane West, Exit #9B. Make a left (south) onto Greenspring Avenue, which will bring you into the park near its northwest corner.

From the South: Take I-83/ Jones Falls Expressway to 28th Street/Druid Park Lake Drive, Exit #7B. Follow the exit to continue onto 28th Street eastbound. Make a left (north) at the first traffic light onto Sisson Street. Then, make a left at the second traffic light onto Wyman Park Drive westbound, which enters the park from the east.

Druid Hill Park is also accessible by local bus #53 from Mondawmin Metro and by light rail via the Woodberry station.

Nearby Sites:

Cylburn Arboretum; Lake Roland; Patterson Park; Masonville Cove Environmental Education Center; Fort McHenry National Monument; Cromwell Valley Park; Irvine Nature Center; Milford Mill Park; Loch Raven Reservoir; Holt Park.

Habitats:

Upland Deciduous Garden or ParkLawn, Ballfields, Golf CourseUrban or Small Town Landscape Freshwater Pond, Lake, or ReservoirRivers & Streams

Features:

Ball Fields or Other SportsBeginnersBicycle Trails (Bikes may be prohibited on some trails)Free - No Entry FeeHiking/Walking TrailsHistorical FeaturesLake, Pond, Bay, River, OceanParkingPets AllowedPicnic AreaPlaygroundRestroomsSwimmingWheelchair Accessible FeaturesYoung People / Families

Type:

Community and Urban ParksGardens & ArboretaHiker-Biker Trails (Paved)