Birds and birders flock to Ohio - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Birds and birders flock to Ohio

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"Even if you don't like birds, and everybody should like birds, it's a great people, wonderful people from all over the world."

Singing warblers have spent weeks and countless energy flying to Ohio.  Some of their biggest fans flocked from even farther to catch the brief layover.  

"The lake is this daunting barrier," Black Swamp Bird Observatory Executive Director Kimberly Kaufman said.  "If you weigh less than a ball point pen and you can't swim, you're reluctant to cross the lake until you're at your energetic best."

Some of these warblers have migrated thousands of miles before they get here to northwest Ohio and the Lake Erie lakeshore.  They're so focused on foraging that even dozens of birders can't scare them off.

"Lake Erie is a monster component for the bird concentrations," BSCO Research Director Mark Shieldcastle said.  "If that lake wasn't here, we'd be just no different than most other places."

The Biggest Week In American Birding kicks off tomorrow.   Even on a cool day before the start, birders from 44 states packed the Black Swamp Bird Observatory.   In 2012, organizers say they spent 37 million dollars.

"If you don't know anything about birds or birding, this is the perfect time to come out and learn," Kaufman said.  Because you'll be shoulder to shoulder with people who know more about birds than anyone in the world.  And they're so generous that they always want to share."

They're not just sharing spotting tips.  The songbirds follow a predictable path, using helpful southwest winds.  This breeze comes off of low pressure systems over Texas, just like the warming pattern we expect later this week.

"We pretty much know exactly what these birds are looking for."

Link to bird forecast: http://birdcast.info/

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