'The biggest week in American Birding' opens along Lake Erie

'The biggest week in American Birding' opens along Lake Erie
(Source: WTOL)

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - This is the time of the year along the Lake Erie shoreline that's strictly for the birds and folks who like to photograph and watch them.

Once again, Northwest Ohio is home to an event known as 'The Biggest Week in American Birding.'

Birders come carrying scopes, cameras and binoculars to zero in on birds of all varieties, sizes and colors perched on trees. Even though a majestic eagle my fly overhead the superstar of the week is the warbler.

Over the years, 34 varieties have been spotted here, the most in the Western Hemisphere.

"This is just an awesome spot for warblers and see different kinds of birds. It's like a treasure hunt," said birder Chris Saadin.

"The artistry is just spectacular where the feathers are placed. Serious hobby. Gets you outdoors," added Phyllis Hulton.

The birds are heading north after wintering in places like Central and South America.

Nobody can remember viewing conditions this perfect. Strong winds keep the birds close to the ground. Plus they're easier to see because the cool spring has resulted in less tree foliage.

"We get to see the birds feeding very close and we don't get what we call 'warbler-neck' which we get from looking high all the time," said Sue Fortuna.

The reason the event is called 'The Biggest Week in American Birding' is because more than 90,000 birders are expected from all fifty states, 52 countries and six continents.

"But we really wanted to connect with local people and introduce them to birds because they'll care more about habitat conservation if they'll fall in love with the birds," said Kimberly Kaufman of the Black Swamp Bird Observatory, sponsor of the event.

The Magee Marsh boardwalk is where birders flock to watch and listen to a symphony of sounds.But anywhere along the lake is perfect for observing a stopover that's guaranteed to be a memorable experience.

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