The Biggest Week in American Birding (BWIAB), hosted by the Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO), will present a virtual program on May 6-10 because of Covid-19 restrictions. The BSBO will feature an extensive list of workshops and virtual experiences at many of the birding hotspots around northwest Ohio.
The registration fee for the virtual Biggest Week in American Birding is $35, but free for BSBO members, including brand new members. For BWIAB details, visit biggestweekinamericanbirding.com.
Magee Marsh Wildlife Area is one of the premier places to view spring migrating songbirds, and offers many wonderful trails that are highly productive birding locations and still accessible. To limit crowds this year, the Ohio Division of Wildlife is partnering with The Toledo Zoo to allow timed registrations, which open the Magee Marsh Boardwalk to the public while following proper Covid-19 protocols.
Birders can select a day to visit Magee Marsh Boardwalk at connect.toledozoo.org/mageemarsh, view the time slots available and reserve a permit. If you have any questions, contact them at Reservations@toledozoo.org or call 419-385-5721.
Birders do have other options for watching birds and wildlife this spring along the Lake Erie shoreline.
The Crane Creek Estuary Trail and Magee Beach Trail are particularly suited to view warblers and many other species. The Magee Marsh Walking Trail, located just behind the Sportsman’s Migratory Bird Center, is accessible and perfect for visitors looking for a shorter walk.
The new Goosehaven Trail and a section of the lakefront levee will be open from through May 31. The Goosehaven Trail can be accessed via the Estuary Trail and near the east end entrance of the boardwalk. The entrance to the lakefront levee is located at the southeast end of the overflow parking lot.
More information and a map of all the trails can be found on the Magee Marsh Wildlife Area page at wildohio.gov. In addition, the Sportsmen’s Migratory Bird Center will be open on a limited basis during the spring birding season.
The southwest shore of Lake Erie has many prime birding locations that can be explored this spring. Here are just a few that shouldn’t be missed:
- Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge (Ottawa County): Scattered woodlots provide viewing of migrating songbirds, and several owl species are frequently seen on the area. The monthly wildlife drive is open for additional dates in May. This drive allows visitors to traverse the expansive wetlands and is perfect for viewing waterfowl, shorebirds, and eagles.
- Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area (Ottawa County): The open water marsh is a haven for swans and diving and dabbling ducks. A small woodlot at the northern end of the road can hold a spectacular array of migrating warblers and songbirds.
- Howard Marsh Metropark (Lucas County): Shallow marshes and mudflats in the park provide fantastic viewing of wading birds and waterfowl. Eagles and other raptors, as well as swans and sandhill cranes, are often seen flying over.
- Maumee Bay State Park (Lucas County): The park contains a variety of habitats, including swamp forests, open meadows and beach areas, and is a great place to view everything from wading birds to raptors and warblers.
- East Harbor State Park (Ottawa County): Hosting a variety of habitats, the park draws in a wide range of species including waterfowl, gulls and terns, and numerous songbirds. Wooded areas around the campground and the swamp forests along the lakefront are most productive for warblers.