Migratory Madness

It’s coming on that time of year (no, not when college hoops rules – although I am listening to the Bucks play the Arizona Wildcats tonight) when the birds migrate through Ohio. These birds are heading up from the south into Canada and the boreal forest or arctic regions, with some having flown from as far away as Central and South America. They have one more push to reach their final destinations, but Lake Erie is out there, one last – and rather large – obstacle to cross.

USGS flyway map

If you look at a map of Lake Erie, the western end of the lake isn’t as wide, providing an easier place to cross. So before these birds head out, they gather strength in the marshes and preserves in Northwest Ohio. By March, some of the birds are making their way warblernorth, although more will be traveling in May. In fact, in searching around the Internet, I found a site, Biggest Week in American Birding, which takes place this year in Northwest Ohio the week of May 3rd. It is, apparently, a big deal (and a lot of tourist dollars) to see all of these birds come in. Some of the more spectacular birds that fly through are: Kirtland’s Warbler, American Redstart, Mourning Warbler, and Black-and-white Warbler. The little beauty above is the Blackburnian Warbler. I can imagine why people would travel from around the world to have the chance to look at such a bird…If any of you have gone to Lake Erie to bird watch, let me know how it was.

When I was a kid, the biggest thrill for me (at least as far as birds were concerned!) was to see the first robin of the season. That told me that winter was over and spring was around the corner. Unfortunately, since then, I’ve learned that robins stay in Ohio all winter long; it was a bit like finding out that the Easter Bunny wasn’t real when I saw my first robin in December, happily munching on a hawthorn berry.

Speaking of birds, Pete and I were walking to the market when I heard a bird song that I didn’t recognize. I tracked down the bird on the top of a tree. Pete said it was a male chickadee with his mating call. He was so funny to watch with his head bobbing around. Pete said he was looking out any females in the neighborhood. So spring – and love – is in the air.

Basketball ain’t the only game in town!

Until next time!

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2 responses to “Migratory Madness

  1. We were in the Killdeer Nature Preserve today (40 mminutes from Cbus up 23 north then west to Harpster.). Saw trumpeter swans, sand hill cranes 20 of them, 2 nesting bald eagles, and northern Harrier hawk!! NW Ohio Rocks!

  2. Indeed, Magee Marsh and the surrounding area is magical in May! As an adult advisor with the Central Ohio Chapter of the Ohio Young Birders Club (for 12-18 yr. olds), we anxiously await our annual field trip to Magee for International Migratory Birding Day, May 11th this year. Last year our teen group tallied 115 species in a day of birding in this incredible oasis for spring warblers & other migrants. I highly recommend it to all — the warblers are dripping from the trees and there are hundreds of birders from around the world who flock to Magee’s boardwalks for the show. There is energy & excitement in the air and such a community feeling of sharing & camaraderie as birders help each other spot & identify the birds. Head north & see the spectacle!

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