Each year, thousands of warblers and songbirds flock to the northwest shores of Lake Erie to refuel before traveling over the Great Lakes.
Toledo is the hub to branch out and visit these amazing regional birding spots along the Great Lake Erie Birding Trail!
Start your next birding adventure on The Great Lake Erie Birding Trail by signing up for your free mobile passport. Next, begin your excursion by visiting select birding hotspots in Lake Erie’s parks and wildlife areas throughout northwest Ohio, southeastern Michigan and even Canada! Check-in as you explore the Western Basin’s birding sites, then once you’ve hit 15 locations, you’ll receive The Great Lake Erie Birding Trail limited edition pin!
Nearby Birding Areas along The Great Lake Erie Birding Trail
MAUMEE BAY STATE PARK
From Route 2, go 2.5 miles north on N. Curtice Road to the park entrance. Good birding all year, with waterfowl at the beach and migrant songbirds through the forest. For a map, click HERE.
MALLARD CLUB MARSH WILDLIFE AREA
From Route 2, go 2.5 miles north on Cousino Road and then 0.2 miles east on Cedar Point Road to the parking area on the north side of the road. Trails lead out into the marsh with many water birds all year. For a map, click HERE.
METZGER MARSH WILDLIFE AREA
Just east of the village of Bono, Route 2 makes a major curve to run south. The well-marked turnoff to Metzger is on the curve. The marsh is outstanding for waterfowl in migration and for nesting marsh birds in summer, while the woodlot at the end of the road is excellent for migrating songbirds. For a BSBO birding map of the area, click HERE.
KRAUSE / STANGE ROADS
From the Metzger Marsh turnoff, Route 2 runs south for more than 2 miles. A short distance before it bends eastward again, Krause Road runs to the east for a mile, intersecting with Stange Road, which runs south to meet Route 2. Fields along these two roads have hosted many interesting migrants, including shorebirds and hawks.
OTTAWA NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
The main entrance is on Route 2, about 18 miles east of Toledo/Oregon and about 17 miles west of Port Clinton, or about one mile east of the junction with Route 590 or two miles west of the junction with Route 19. Walking trails give access to woods, marsh, and mudflats, providing excellent birding all year. For an overview of birding on the refuge, click HERE. For the ONWR Walking Trail map click HERE.
Great Birding at Metroparks Toledo
Metroparks Toledo has an abundance of birding hot spots of their own. According to Scott Carpenter, Public Relations Director for the Metroparks, Oak Openings and Pearson Metroparks offer the best examples of the spring migration in the Toledo area. “Oak Openings is one of the best spots for viewing the spring migration”, says Carpenter. “The habitat is truly unique and there is really nothing else like it in our area.” Pearson is also a favorite stopover for the wide variety of migrating birds with its thick woods and location close to Lake Erie. Carpenter adds, “Howard Marsh, our newest park, near Lake Erie, is a magnet for shorebirds and waterfowl.”
Additional featured Metroparks for birding include: Wildwood Preserve, Secor Metropark, Swan Creek, Side Cut, Providence, Farnsworth, Bend View, Toledo Botanical Garden, Wiregrass Lake and Blue Creek.
Up for some more exploring to discover that elusive warbler plus eagles and tons of waterfowl? Check out the complete list of Birding Hot Spots in Toledo, Northwest Ohio and beyond. Showcase your Northwest Ohio birding experience by sharing your sightings and photos with us @ToledoCVB and use #ThisIsToledo on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Biggest Week in American Birding
Birders come from around the world to attend, and last year saw more than 90,000 visitors. Opening ceremonies begin on Friday, May 4, at 5 p.m. at the Maumee Bay Lodge & Conference Center. This event is open to the public and will feature food, music, vendors and guest speakers.
The festival offers bird identification workshops, guided birding trips, birding by canoe, birding walks at Magee Marsh, American Woodcock field trips, a birder’s marketplace and keynote presentations. Social events will be held in the evenings. Keynote speakers will include: Tiffany Adams, Lynn Barber, Laura Erickson, Steve N.G. Howell, Kenn Kaufman, Kimberly Kaufman, Laura Keene, Rue Map, Nancy McAllister, Dr. Emily McKinnon, Yve Morrell and Julie Zickefoose among others.
The Biggest Week is organized by Black Swamp Bird Observatory with support from Maumee Bay Lodge & Conference Center, Lake Erie Shores and Islands, and Destination Toledo. The Black Swamp Bird Observatory headquarters is located near the entrance to Magee Marsh. Magee Marsh is located on State Rt. 2 nine miles north of Oak Harbor, Ohio. The observatory will provide free birding maps and more information on the festival activities. To receive festival information, log on at www.biggestweekinamericanbirding.com.
What Makes Northwest Ohio the Birding Mecca?
According to the Black Swamp Observatory, “It is simply the best place to witness the spring migration of songbirds anywhere in North America. Lake Erie acts as a barrier that the birds are reluctant to cross during migration.” The birds gather in marshlands on the lake’s southern edge to refuel and rest before crossing Lake Erie.
In addition, the trees are just beginning to bud and the visibility of the birds is exceptional. Northwest Ohio is also “The Warbler Capital of the World.” Birders will see more than 20 species of warblers along with thrushes, vireos, flycatchers, orioles and shorebirds.
For the Black Swamp Bird Observatory and their conservation efforts of birds and their habitats, visit www.bsbo.org.