Biggest Week’s birding hotspots are plentiful; Migratory avian explosion a window of opportunity

May 3, 2023 | Ottawa Outdoors | 0 comments

The Black Swamp Bird Observatory will host a variety of events and educational programs during the Biggest Week in American Birding on My 5-14, and bird watchers have a wide variety of excellent birding areas to visit. (Photo by Dianne Rozak)


For more than a week in May, the world will descend on Ottawa County. Locals traversing the boardwalk at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area or hiking the trails at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge may find themselves rubbing elbows with visitors who have traveled thousands of miles to experience what local residents have in their own backyards: One of the top migratory birding areas in the world.

Each spring, thousands of migratory birds stop to rest along the shores of Lake Erie before continuing to their northern breeding grounds. On May 5 – 14, the Black Swamp Bird Observatory will host a variety of events and educational programs during the Biggest Week in American Birding.

Birders can attend presentations by world birding experts, register for photography and art workshops, attend bird-focused educational programs, or join a variety of field trips.
Mostly, birders will be outside hoping to catch a glimpse of a lifer or snap a photo of a rare migratory visitor. Below is a list of some of the top local birding hotspots:

  • Black Swamp Bird Observatory, 13551 W. OH-2, Oak Harbor
  • Catawba Island Nature Preserve: 4158 NW Catawba Rd., Port Clinton
  • Cedar Meadow Preserve, 4822 E. Cemetery Rd., Catawba
  • Cooper’s Woods, Catawba Ave., west of Concord Ave., Put-in-Bay
  • Dodge Woods Preserve, Thompson and Langram Rds., Put-in-Bay
  • East Harbor State Park: 1169 N Buck Rd., Marblehead
  • Ed Curilla Preserve, end of Huntington Ln., Kelleys Island
  • Great Egret Marsh Nature Preserve: 1000 N Buck Rd., Marblehead
  • Howard Marsh, 401 S. Howard Rd., Curtice
  • Huron Lighthouse and Fishing Pier, end of N. Main St., Huron
  • Jane Coates Wildflower Trail, Put-in-Bay Rd., Put-in-Bay
  • Kelleys Island State Park, 920 Division St., Kelleys Island
  • Kuehnle Wildlife Area, 1965 Fox Rd., Middle Bass Island
  • Ladd Carr Wildlife Woods, Put-in-Bay Rd., Put-in-Bay
  • Lake Point Park, 11257 E. Bayshore Rd., Marblehead
  • Lakeside Daisy State Nature Preserve: 309 Alexander Pike, Marblehead
  • Little Portage Wildlife Area, Darr Hopfinger Rd., Port Clinton
  • Magee Marsh Wildlife Area: 13229 OH-2, Oak Harbor
  • Marblehead Lighthouse State Park: 110 Lighthouse Dr., Marblehead
  • Massie Cliffside Preserve, 611 Columbus Ave., Put-in-Bay
  • Meadowbrook Marsh: 8577 E Bayshore Rd., Marblehead
  • Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area: Bono Rd., Bono
  • Middle Bass East Point Preserve, E. North Shore Dr., Middle Bass Island
  • Middle Bass Island Forested Wetland Preserve, Fox Rd., Middle Bass Island
  • Nehls Memorial Nature Preserve, 4400 Muggy Rd., Catawba
  • North Bass Island State Park, Kenny Rd., North Bass Island
  • North Pond State Nature Preserve, Ward Rd., Kelleys Island
  • North Shore Alvar State Nature Preserve, Ward Rd., Kelleys Island
  • Oak Harbor Station – Interurban Overlook, 146 N. Church St., Oak Harbor
  • Old Woman Creek State Nature Preserve, 2514 Cleveland Rd. E, Huron
  • Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge: 14000 OH-2, Oak Harbor
  • Petersen’s Woods, Deist Rd., Middle Bass Island
  • Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area, 3451 CR 256, Vickery
  • Pipe Creek Wildlife Area, River Rd., off Cedar Point Dr., Sandusky
  • Port Clinton Lakefront Preserve, E. Perry St., Port Clinton
  • Resthaven Wildlife Area, 412 Cement Ave., Castalia
  • Scheeff East Point Nature Preserve, 1159 Columbus Ave., Put-in-Bay
  • Scheele Preserve, Monaghan Rd., Kelleys Island
  • Sheldon Marsh State Nature Preserve: 2715 Cleveland Rd. W, Huron
  • South Bass Island State Park, 1523 Catawba Ave., Put-in-Bay
  • Toussaint Creek Wildlife Area, TR 92 and SR 19, Oak Harbor

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December 2023

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