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Birding Week 2022 is in full swing at Magee Marsh

Birding Week 2022 in full swing at Magee Marsh
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 7:19 PM EDT
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Ottawa County, Ohio (WTVG) - The biggest week in American birding continues here in our corner of the world, and as thousands of people arrive from literally all over the world, the Toledo Metroparks and other hot spots are bustling.

For all the birders that migrate to northwest Ohio each spring, there’s plenty of good spots around... but one of the most popular and reliable ones is Magee Marsh.

“I like to say Magee Marsh is kind of ground zero,” said Kelly Schott, a Wildlife Communications Specialist for the ODNR. “A birder isn’t going to come to northwest Ohio unless they come here to the boardwalk.”

But why Magee Marsh? For the migrating birds, it’s like a turnpike rest stop with a full buffet.

“There’s very few places along Lake Erie that really consist of forested beach ridge, so it’s that unique combination of the vegetation and the ground cover here that really brings the bugs! And that’s what the birds are eating,” explained Schott.

In 2020, Magee Marsh was shut to the public due to COVID, and last year you could only get in with a permit. So for 2022, the biggest week in American birding is bigger than ever!

“This year we’re wide open, and people have come back in droves,” Schott told us. “I think those people who just come here maybe once every 2, 3, 4 years they all came this year.”

Clever shirts and high-tech cameras marked the regulars, but quite a few first-timers joined the flock.

“I’ve read about this for many years, and I just decided that I’d better do it,” said Vicki Devenport from Makanda, Illinois. “And I am not disappointed! I’ve walked very few feet here… and I’m amazed.”

“It’s really cool, I didn’t know much about it coming in,” said Will Humphrey from Sandusky, Ohio. “I didn’t expect so many birds to be here, all around us.”

Of course, everyone is here to find the rarest birds, but there’s more to the experience than that.

“This time of the year it’s just nice to get outside because it’s been not great out recently,” Madelyn Wecker from Sunbury, Ohio told us. “I enjoy listening to the birds.”

“Really, it’s the people,” said Schott. “It’s so much fun to talk to people from all over the world.”

You may have heard that the boardwalk was damaged last summer by severe storms, but repairs and some renovations were finished in mid-April, so it is open, free, and accessible. We were also told that we’re currently in the peak of the migration, so now is the time to grab your binoculars.

Reporting in Magee Marsh in Ottawa County, Derek Witt, 13abc Action News.