Migratory Bird Rendezvous

. May 3, 2017.
Bird-Watching-Toledo

The Biggest Week in American Birding, May 5th -14th, marks the pinnacle of migratory bird season in Northwest Ohio.

Our incredible rivers, lakes, preserves, parks and wetland areas provide some of the best habitat for visiting birds— those that are just passing through the area and many who stay for a season. Our prime location hosts bluebirds, gulls, ducks, flycatchers, orioles, tanagers, grosbeaks, thrushes and many more, and is an absolute favorite of over thirty species of those brightly colored songbirds called warblers— making our area the warbler capital of the world!

Biggest Bird Party:

Visit Magee Marsh with its iconic birding boardwalk, which hosts over twelve thousand bird watchers during the Biggest Week in American Birding. Stop by Black Swamp Bird Observatory or visit the website for a birding map and checklists before heading just down the road to Magee Marsh or other birding areas. For info, birding locations, a downloadable activities guide and bird migration schedules go to biggestweekinamericanbirding.com. Visit bsbo.org for Black Swamp Bird Observatory 13551 West State Route 2 / Oak Harbor, OH and mageemarsh.org for Magee Marsh West State Route 2, Oak Harbor.

Zen Birding

If you prefer to enjoy your interludes with nature and the birds in a quieter, immersive setting, then go to Cullen and Bay View Parks, where morning and evenings offer the most bird activity. Here you can enjoy panoramic views and melodic choruses of bird calls as you meander along the park trails and water-edged pathways, and look for the bald eagles!
Designated as part of the Ohio Lake Erie Birding Trail, (as the Bay/River opens to western Lake Erie) Cullen’s man-made peninsula, offers secluded coves. Settle into these lush, dappled sunlit areas to the sounds of lapping water and the sights and songs of birds alighting among the trees and the shoreline. Be sure to follow the path to the tip of the peninsula for lake views where migratory waterfowl, especially several species of ducks, can be found. Bay View Park has a one-and-a-quarter-mile hard gravel path (Howard & Mary Pinkley Memorial Trail), you can walk or bike.

Cullen Park 4500 N Summit St (cullenpark.org) and Bay View Park (adjacent to Cullen Park –look for the lighthouse and visit coastal.ohiodnr.gov/lucas/bayviewpark for info and map). Open 7am until dusk. To plan birding adventures along the 300 mile coastline of the Ohio Lake Erie Birding Trial visit
lakeeriebirding.ohiodnr.gov.

Avian Identification

The Metroparks are offering birding identification hikes for beginners and families including: Beginning Birding Walk on May 6, 7, and 13, 10am-noon, as well as a Family Bird Walk May 14, 10am-noon. Meet at Pearson Metropark (761 Lallendorf Rd, Oregon, OH) in parking lot #4. No registration required. Binoculars and field guides available. Visit metroparkstoledo.com for all activities and maps. Free

Also, check out these top-rated bird identification phone apps. Answer a few questions and then receive photos and bird calls to help you name that bird. The Audubon Society at www.audubon.org/free-bird-guide-app and Merlin Bird ID by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology merlin.allaboutbirds.org

Wing Ride

Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge (14000 West State Route 2, Oak Harbor, half mile west of Magee Marsh) hosts an year-round self guided driving route on their seven-mile Nature and Bird Auto Tour. For routes, bus/tram tours and hiking trail info, visit
fws.gov/refuge/ottawa.