Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Biggest Week in American Birding, what is that?

It was actually rather accidental how I discovered this. Last fall while displaying and selling paintings at the Toledo Art Walk a gentleman who saw my bird paintings suggested that I attend "The Biggest Week in American Birding" and went on to tell me that we live in what's been deemed the Warbler Capital of the world!

What? Why had I never heard of this before? After researching this a bit it turns out, Northwest Ohio is smack in the middle of the flight path of migratory songbirds.  I had never even considered what might happen to all the songbirds we have around here in the Winter...they migrate south of course and return in the Spring!  So what is this "Biggest Week?"

The Biggest Week is organized by the Black Swamp Bird Observatory, with support from co-hosts at Maumee Bay Lodge and Conference Center, Lake Erie Shores and Islands (Ottawa County and Erie County Visitor's Bureau, and Destination Toledo (Lucas County Visitor's Bureau).

Here's what the has to say about this phenomena...

Why come to Northwest Ohio in May?

"Because it is quite simply the best place to witness spring migration of songbirds anywhere in North America. The southern edge of Lake Erie acts as a barrier that the birds are reluctant to cross during migration. The birds tend to "pile up" in the woodlots surrounded by marshland on the lake's southern edge to rest and refuel before crossing the Lake. The timing of their arrival is early enough in spring that the trees have not leafed out, there are no bugs, and the birds are incredibly low and accessible. No such thing as "warbler neck" around here! We get HUGE numbers of birds, much like a fallout, only better! Fallouts occur when a weather event pushes birds down, and what birders find are the weary survivors. Here in NW Ohio, we get the same huge numbers of birds as you'd see in a fallout, but the birds are active and vibrant, and by the time they get to this latitude, the males are actively singing!"

Certainly sounded like an event I wanted to learn more about!
This year's event is taking place now through May 15th. Chris and I went to Maumee Bay State Park yesterday to check it out and is most definitely a hotspot for bird watchers and extremely educational too!

Next year's event is set for May 8-17, 2015.

Want to learn more about Northwest Ohio birds and the Biggest Week?

You can also download and view this year's Biggest Week visitor's guide by clicking here.

In the mean time, this knew found birding knowledge has inspired me to paint more warblers like the Prothonotory Warbler original shown here.

Want to flit about my site and see what birding art is currently available?

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