OTTAWA COUNTY, Ohio — The largest tourism event in Ohio is coming back this weekend after taking the last two years off from in-person festivities.
Excitement is in the air at Magee Marsh in Ottawa County, as the boardwalk here is center stage for what is considered to be the best place for bird watching in the world this time of year.
The Biggest Week in American Birding was canceled in 2020 and virtual in 2021, so these die-hard birders are ready to hit the Lake Erie shore this year.
"The interest and eagerness for 2022 is off the charts. I expect that we can see as many as 100,000 people in Northwest Ohio in the next month." said Kimberly Kaufman, executive director of the Black Swamp Bird Observatory
This is such a great birding spot because these song birds take a rest here before taking on the arduous task of crossing Lake Erie.
This event brings in visitors from all 50 states and so far 50 different countries, injecting an estimated $40 million into the local economy each year.
"You can get so many birds here that you can't see the other times of the year. So, that's why we keep coming back," Bob Traynor, visiting Magee Marsh from Virginia, said.
"We'd have to travel to 10 or 11 different states to see what we see in one week here in Ohio," Heidi Traynor said.
While you can walk in at the Maumee Bay State Park Lodge to sign up for free beginner workshops and gear training, you are also free to visit these locations across our regions at no cost.
Organizers say birding is an easy activity for all ages and walks of life.
"Because I never really paid attention to birds, and now I'm paying attention to them. And now seeing what kinds of birds there are, and starting to learn more about birds and really just respecting them more than I did before," said 7th-grade event intern Claire Drerup.
The Biggest Week in American Birding officially kicks off on Friday morning at the Maumee Bay State Park Lodge, with events scheduled from Huron County all the way to Oak Openings through Sunday, May 15.