The magical spring migration along Northwest Ohio’s Lake Erie shoreline attracts a wide range of birds from waterfowl to warblers. Joining them, as well, again this year are the folks who love to hunker down in prime habitat and watch the visiting birds with binoculars, or hope for the perfect pose for a photograph.
That perfect match has hatched the “Biggest Week in American Birding,” organized and hosted by the Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) based at the Magee Marsh Wildlife Area in Oak Harbor on the Lake Erie shoreline.
Since its inception, the Biggest Week now lures more more than 100,000 birders to the area. Although the 10-day festival has been put on remote by the Covid-19 pandemic the last two years, the BSBO has announced the in-person birding adventures will return on May 6-15.
While bald eagles and other large birds often steal the spotlight, the area in spring is known as the “The Warbler Capital of the World!” For a full schedule of events held during the festival, visit bsbo.org.
Premier registration for the Biggest Week in American Birding will open on Monday, Jan. 24 and general registration will open on Wednesday, Jan. 26. For more information visit: biggestweekinamericanbirding.com.
When you come, immerse yourself in the spring songbird migration and experience some of the best birding North America has to offer. The festival has something to offer beginner and seasoned birders alike, with bird identification workshops, guided birding trips, birding by canoe, daily walks at the world famous Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, American Woodcock field trips, keynote presentations, a Birder’s Marketplace, and evening socials with free food and music. Come for a few days or stay for the whole 10-day celebration.
It is appropriate that Kenn Kaufman of Kaufman Field Guides is one of the prominent keynote speakers during the Biggest Week. His wife, Kimberly Kaufman is the executive director of the BSBO, and his Kaufman Field Guides are considered the bible of birding.
Kaufman’s epic book, “A Season on the Wind: Inside the World of Spring Migration,” has elicited rave reviews. It is a must-read to understand the migratory habits of birds, and why Northwest Ohio is a Mecca for birders.
Other keynote speakers include: Dr. Richard Beilfuss, International Crane Foundation; Jamie Cunningham, Sabrewing Nature Tours; Tykee James, Amplify the Future; David Lindo, The Urban Birder; and Rosemary Mosco, Bird and Moon Nature Comics.
New and veteran birders can immerse themselves in spring songbird migration and experience some of the best birding North America has to offer. The festival has bird identification workshops, guided birding trips, birding by canoe, daily walks at the world famous Magee Marsh, American Woodcock field trips, a Birder’s Marketplace, and evening socials with free food and music.
The festival headquarters is at Maumee Bay Lodge and Conference Center, with additional vendors and activities at Black Swamp Bird Observatory.
Festival participants, volunteers and vendors must show proof of Covid-19 vaccinations to attend. The festival will also require face masks for all indoor activities.
Port Clinton and surrounding communities have benefitted substantially from the birding extravaganza, to the tune of $40 million each year.