Blue gray gnatcatcher by Aimee Weidner
May 6-15 marks the Biggest Week in American Birding. Birders from around the state, country and world travel to our area for a glimpse of the best spring birding on the continent. Not only is the Biggest Week in American Birding great for nature lovers and birders, but it is also good for our local economy.
“The festival added $37 million to our local economy in 2013,” said Black Swamp Bird Observatory Research Director Mark Shieldcastle. “Last year the traffic counter at Magee Marsh hit 70,000. The festival has brought national attention and also has caught the attention of locals who had no idea this happened in our community. It’s added two more months to the busy season of the area.”
Tree swallow by Jasmine Cupp
Not only is there great birding between May 6-15, but there are tours, seminars, vendors and other educational resources in the area that are available to people interested in birding.
The Biggest Week in American Birding 2014 Visitor’s Guide offers schedules of events, places to visit, the best birding locations and information for new birders.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Ohio Division of Wildlife and the Ohio Sea Grant program have come together to participate in the Biggest Week event. Around the area there are Ohio Birding Trail signs that indicate popular birding spots. In the Ohio Lake Erie Birding Trail Guidebook (which was funded by the ODNR, Ohio Division of Wildlife and Ohio Sea Grant), each area is outlined with what birders can expect to see and the specific location of each trail.
Yellow rumped warbler by Aimee Weidner
“Birding brings together all walks of life,” said Kim Kaufman, Executive Director of the Black Swamp Bird Observatory. “Everyone is equal on the boardwalk. Government agencies, non-profits, and businesses all come together for the cause.”
“People are just starting to realize what we have here,” said Shieldcastle. “It’s a natural gem.”
Ruby crowned kinglet by Aimee Weidner
For more information:
Biggest Week in American Birding festival: biggestweekinamericanbirding.com
Black Swamp Bird Observatory: bsbo.org
Magee Marsh Wildlife Area: friendsofmageemarsh.org
Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge: onwra.com
Lake Erie Birding Trail: lakeeriebirding.info
Ohio Sea Grant: ohioseagrant.osu.edu