"Biggest Week in American Birding" brings millions of dollars to Northwest Ohio

OREGON, Ohio (WTVG) - Migratory birds are on the move in Northwest Ohio and those who enjoy them are too.

"It's good to get to see all these people out here learning about birds and sharing it with them and them sharing it with us," said Larry Richardson of Warren, Ohio. "It's just a great experience."

This year an estimated 90,000 people from across the globe are expected to line Lake Erie in hopes of spotting as many birds as possible.

They're also likely to pump about $40 million into the local economy, according to leaders at the Black Swamp Bird Observatory.

"We just love having the birders and business is booming," said Stacey Wiseman, general manager of the Holiday Inn Express in Oregon.

Wiseman says her hotel only has a handful of rooms left. Starting Sunday, her team plans to begin taking reservations for the fall migration.

"They have so much fun doing this that we see them through the rest of May and then in the fall we see them come back again," said Wiseman.

Closer to the lake, birders have also booked up the lodge at Maumee Bay State Park.

"We have just a few rooms and a couple of cabins available," said general manager Chad Egan. "So if anyone wants them, they better get on them quick."

Along with being close to the action, guests there also have the chance to buy from birding vendors and eat at the lodge's restaurants.

“It’s been great," said Egan. "We started seeing an uptick in business last week and it just keeps getting busier every day.”

It's not just big business benefiting from the birders. Local shops are also cashing in on the biggest week in birding.

"It's been very busy," said owner of DG's Ice Cream David Moore. "It's really a lot better than last year."

Moore and his wife have served hungry bird watchers for more than 30 years.

The pair even offers a discount to those moving from one spot to the next and it's, sort of, payed off.

"[We] actually ran out of chocolate," said Moore. "Not ice cream, but chocolate topping. So we have to go get some more today and we did double our order that we placed today."

While catering to it all can be demanding, business owners say they wouldn't have it any other way and look forward to the rest of the 'Biggest Week in American Birding.'