When migrating birds come through the Midwest in the spring, it’s a very big deal. Come early May, we hearty folk trade snow shovels for binoculars and slap on sunscreen, ready to immerse ourselves in warblers, shorebirds, tanagers, thrashers, and grosbeaks. We live for this. And what better way to get our migration satisfaction in the Heartland than at The Biggest Week in American Birding?
This 10-day Ohio festival has it all, folks. Located near the southwest shore of Lake Erie and surrounded by prime birding habitat, Biggest Week provides the ultimate remedy for winter-weary birders. Birding sites include Crane Creek, Maumee Bay State Park, Magee Marsh, and Ottawa National Wildlife Area, which provide an amazing variety of warblers, water birds, shorebirds, songbirds, and resident species. In fact, the Magee Marsh Boardwalk is famous in May and was dubbed “Warbler Capital of the World” by Kenn Kaufman.
Why is this unique area teeming with so many warblers and others birds? Well, the southern edge of Lake Erie presents an obstacle birds are hesitant to cross during migration. Until they are ready to make the crossing, birds will rest and refuel in several birding hotspots on the lake’s southern edge, providing birders the opportunity to see warblers at eye level and water birds close up. These experiences along with the sheer number of birds you can expect to encounter during this event are bound to amaze bird lovers of all ages.
This year, the beautiful Maumee Bay Lodge and Conference Center will serve as the festival headquarters and place to be for receptions, silent auction, evening keynote speakers, and vendors. The Biggest Week in American Birding is brimming with free guided activities, trips, travel talks, and workshops. Bird by canoe, participate in a Big Sit, take a guided boat or bus trip, help with bird banding, learn about digiscoping, and so much more. See the full schedule here.
Co-hosted by Black Swamp Bird Observatory, Destination Toledo, and Lake Erie Shores and Islands, proceeds from a number of the festival activities will benefit vital bird conservation and education programs. According to the festival website, “We believe that connecting people to the joys of birding is the first step in building support for conservation; people care more about the things they love.” Last year, over $20,000 was raised for these important conservation initiatives. Your visit to the festival will assist this effort: it is eco-tourism at its best.
So, register now for one of the most exciting birding festivals anywhere, and bring the family! The region offers plenty to do for the non-birders in your group, too. Eagle Optics is proud to be a sponsor and vendor for The Biggest Week In American Birding. Stop by our booth May 7-13 for individualized advice on selecting optics and first-hand experience with the many binoculars, spotting scopes, and tripods we will have on hand. See you in Ohio!
Eagle Optics Staff
Binoculars: Bring them. See what they bring you.